10/07/2008 12:00AM

Commentator won't go to Breeders' Cup


Commentator, the runaway winner of the Whitney Stakes and Massachusetts Handicap this year, will not race in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Oct. 25 and may not race again until next year, trainer Nick Zito said on Tuesday.

Zito said Commentator, owned by Tracy Farmer, had “taken too long to recover” from his last race, the Massachusetts Handicap on Sept. 20 at Suffolk Downs.

“He had his first workout since the race on Monday,” Zito said by phone from Saratoga, where Commentator worked a half-mile in 49.03 seconds. “He was supposed to work last Thursday, but he wasn’t up to it. After talking to all the people who care for the horse, and who get on his back, like his exercise rider, Carlos Correa, I just don’t think he’s ready to travel. Mr. Farmer left it up to me.

“He’s going to need more time until his next work,” Zito added. “I have to give him more time in between works. I think the best thing is to wait. If we can find something at the end of the year, fine. If not, we’ll try to chase Kelso next year.”

Commentator, 7, is a gelding who has been raced sparingly throughout his career. He has made just 20 starts, but has won 13 of them, including two runnings of the Whitney at Saratoga. He has made five starts this year, winning four, and raced just four times last year.

“That’s him,” Zito said of Commentator. “He needs a lot of time.”

Zito said if Commentator races again this year, he would consider the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs or the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct, both at the end of November. Zito said his main goal, though, would be to try for a third Whitney next year.

“I want him to be like Kelso and Forego,” Zito said. “He could have a place in history if he comes back and wins the Whitney.”

With Commentator out of consideration for the Breeders’ Cup, Zito will not have any runners in the Cup. In the past he has publicly stated his reticence to race on synthetic surfaces in general. This year’s Breeders’ Cup is the first to be run on a synthetic surface.

“This has nothing to do with the Breeders’ Cup being on a synthetic surface this year, or trying to run Commentator a mile and a quarter,” Zito said. “I wouldn’t even consider running him in the Dirt Mile. It’s simply that it’s taken him too long to recover from his last race. We’re not going to hurt the horse.”