02/28/2012 2:12PM

Gulfstream Park: Stakes on deck for Zo Impressive

Barbara D. Livingston
Zo Impressive wins an allowance race by more than four lengths on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Trainer Tom Albertrani was a little hoarse when chatting during training hours Monday, the remnants of a week-long bout with the flu. But one couldn’t be faulted for thinking Albertrani might have strained his voice cheering for the latest star in his barn, the undefeated 3-year-old filly Zo Impressive, who remained unbeaten and untested after two starts following her impressive entry-level allowance win here Saturday.

Zo Impressive is a homebred daughter of Hard Spun owned by Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation and a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Zaftig. Zo Impressive won her debut by 6 1/4 lengths going six furlongs on Jan. 22, before stretching out to beat a good field of allowance horses by more than four lengths going a mile Saturday, despite failing to change leads down the stretch.

“I could see the other day she was a little more focused than in her first start,” Albertrani said. “She broke sharp and Rajiv [Maragh] rode her with confidence. He did a good job letting another horse get in front of her, and she showed a good turn of foot when he asked her to run. She’s still a little green, but she certainly gained some more valuable experience with this race.”

Albertrani said he’ll look to step Zo Impressive up into stakes company for her next start, with the Grade 2 Gulfstream Oaks on March 31 perhaps the most logical option.

“We can bring her back here in the Oaks or take her to the Fair Grounds the same weekend,” Albertrani said. “Time-wise, both races work out well for us. Although, I think we’ll probably stay on our home territory and keep her on a track we know she already likes. I realize she’ll have only two starts going into the Oaks, but if she’s got the talent, it should compensate for her inexperience.”

The news wasn’t quite as good from Albertrani regarding Live Oak’s other 3-year-old prospect, Souper Speedy, who has not raced since finishing second, just a half-length behind O’Prado Again and a head in front of El Padrino, in the Grade 2 Remsen on Nov. 26.

“I wasn’t really happy with his last work, so I’m going to back off him some down here,” Albertrani said. “He really hasn’t blossomed or gone forward so far this winter. We’ll just let him come around when he’s ready. It’s a long year.”

Flat Out gets evaluation at Payson

Trainer Scooter Dickey reported his Grade 1 winner Flat Out has been sent to Payson Park, where he’s currently being evaluated in light of his two disappointing efforts here this winter in the Fort Lauderdale and Grade 1 Donn Handicap.

“He’s with Greg Fox at Payson,” Dickey said. “He’s going to examine him, so we can make sure everything is good with the horse. After that, we’ll assess the situation and decide if he needs some time or if we can go on with him.”

Flat Out is winless in four starts since defeating Drosselmeyer and Stay Thirsty in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on Oct. 1.

* Thursday’s feature race is a $41,500 starter allowance that also includes optional claiming conditions. Black Diamond Cat, a stakes winner last summer at Calder and third earlier this meet behind Wills Wildcat under high-priced optional claiming conditions, figures to go postward the favorite for trainer Larry Bates.

* The popular Rainbow 6 was hit again on Sunday’s Fountain of Youth card, returning $78,389 for a 10-cent wager. The winning ticket was purchased at the nearby Pompano Park harness track.