12/21/2012 3:54PM

Gulfstream Park: Zito pair caught in wrong place at wrong time


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Nick Zito was in the wrong place at the wrong time this week with Mister Woolman and Ricochet Court, both of whom had to be scratched out of races on Thursday’s card.

Zito has his entire stable bedded down at Palm Meadows this winter, unlike past years when he would also keep a string on the Gulfstream backside. As a result, Zito ships horses entered to run into the track a day or two prior to their races. Such was the case with both Mister Woolman and Ricochet Court, who unfortunately wound up shipping into a barn that was placed under restriction following their arrival on Wednesday and were not allowed to race.

Restrictions were placed on the barn after a horse died Wednesday. Tests on the horse for the equine herpesvirus came back negative and all restrictions were lifted Thursday afternoon, but it was too late to allow either of Zito’s horses to compete.

“It was just one of those things,” said Zito. “Any other barn and we’d have been fine. It’s very frustrating because both horses had a chance to win, although I understand the process and I’m glad to know track management was willing to sacrifice a few entries by taking the necessary precautions to protect our horses and our industry.”

Mister Woolman, a 2-year-old son of Stephen Got Even, was the 9-5 morning-line favorite for Thursday’s opener.

Zito said there is a chance he could run one of his juvenile prospects, Almost English or Stephen A, in the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Derby on New Year’s Day. Both horses are coming off a third-place finish in entry-level allowance races in their 2012 finales, Almost English at Churchill Downs and Stephen A at Parx.

Almost English worked four furlongs in a near-bullet 47.60 at Palm Meadows on Friday.

◗ Parent’s Honor, upset winner of the Claiming Crown Jewel on opening day, breezed an easy half-mile in 51.40 seconds for trainer Mike Maker after the second renovation break here on Friday. Parent’s Honor was claimed for $35,000 by owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey this summer at Saratoga.