12/08/2012 3:27PM

Gulfstream Park: Zito impressed with maiden winner Mountain Eagle

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Four-Footed Fotos
Leading Astray, winning the Grade 3 Pucker Up Stakes at Arlington Park, is in training at Gulfstream Park.

It wouldn’t be Gulfstream Park if trainer Nick Zito didn’t have at least one promising 2-year-old turning 3 to race here during the winter. Zito’s latest prospect is Mountain Eagle, a son of Birdstone who was an easy maiden winner going a mile making his second career start in Saturday’s second race.

Mountain Eagle is owned by Zito’s long-time client and friend Marylou Whitney.

“I am obviously happy for Marylou and John [Hendrickson],” Zito said after the race. “He looks like a nice horse.”

Zito is also supremely confident Mountain Eagle will have little trouble stretching out around two turns.

“He’ll run 500 miles. He’ll run from here to Alaska,” said Zito. “We wait all year for these 2-year-olds. I have a couple more I like in the barn who ran fourth and fifth at Churchill Downs that I’m hoping will run well, just like Mountain Eagle did, when they start here.”

Easy work for Leading Astray

Grade 3 winner Leading Astray and the Grade 1 stakes-placed 2-year-old Java’s War topped Saturday’s work tab at Gulfstream.

Leading Astray, winner of the Grade 3 Pucker Up this past summer at Arlington Park, breezed a very easy half-mile in 48.51 seconds and galloped out five-eighths in 1:01.78 for trainer Chris Block shortly after the first renovation break. The Ken McPeek trained Java’s War, third in Keeneland’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity, was one of the last horses to work on Saturday, going a half-mile in company in 47.85 and galloping out five furlongs in 1:01.26.

Java’s War is among the nominees for Saturday’s Grade 3 Dania Beach at a mile on the turf.