12/04/2007 1:00AM

Hopes run high for Mott, Zito 2-year-olds

EmailLAS VEGAS - Even before Cigar came along, Bill Mott was one of the premier trainers of his generation, best known for his work with turf runners. That can be easily explained by the fact that the majority of his horses - owned mainly by his primary client, Allen Paulson - were sired by outstanding grass stallions such as Theatrical, Irish River, Strawberry Road, Kingmambo, Giant's Causeway, and Trempolino.

Times have changed, however, and with an influx of pedigrees by more precocious sires for a variety of new clients, including Zayat Stables, Mott this year joined Todd Pletcher and Nick Zito as a top trainer of 2-year-olds.

While Pletcher's army of juveniles did well this year, they were not among the division's best, but it's too early to dismiss them since they have time to develop over the winter.

Below are selected Mott- and Zito-trained 2-year-old colts, with their prospects of getting the Kentucky Derby 1 1/4-mile distance.


Court Vision: This Remsen and Iroquois stakes winner has a Derby pedigree, by Gulch out of Weekend Storm, a full sister to Preakness winner Summer Squall. His dam is also a half-sister to A.P. Indy and Honor Grades. As often happens in breeding, champion sprinter/miler Gulch has proven to be an effective source of stamina, siring such routers as Thunder Gulch, Nayef, and Wallenda.

Majestic Warrior: You can throw out his Champagne Stakes disappointment. Minor injuries prevented him from running in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, and his jaw-dropping victory in the Hopeful Stakes is a better barometer of his ability. By A.P. Indy and out of stakes winner Dream Supreme (whom Mott also trained), Majestic Warrior has talent that we've only see the tip of, and he is bred to improve at 3 when stretching out to classic distances.

Riley Tucker: He has been sidelined by injury but was impressive in a narrow loss to Wicked Style in the Arlington-Washington Futurity. From the successful first crop of Harlan's Holiday, he is out of My Sweet Country, who is by speed influence Bold Ruckus. But Riley Tucker is an RF (Rasmussen Factor), because he is inbred to the influential producer Alanesian, through her Hollywood Gold Cup winner Princessnesian and her Santa Anita Derby winner Boldnesian.

Z Humor: One of the likely favorites in the Delta Jackpot this Friday, he ran third in the Champagne. He is by the versatile Distorted Humor, whose offspring win on any surface. Out of the A.P. Indy mare Offtheoldblock, Z Humor's second dam is the multiple stakes-winning sprinter Chip.

Alaazo: This is a colt with plenty of pedigree power, by A.P. Indy out of stakes winner Atelier (by Deputy Minister). His second dam is Aishah, a full sister to champion Althea and one of eight stakes winners out of the blue hen Courtly Dee.


War Pass: Of course, any talk about Zito's 2-year-olds starts with his likely 2-year-old champion War Pass. The undefeated winner of the BC Juvenile and Champagne, War pass deserves an Eclipse Award this year, but he has a shaky pedigree and might not be as imposing at the Kentucky Derby distance. By speed influence Cherokee Run, he does get high marks from his stout Claiborne Farm female family, but his contemporaries should catch up to him going long next year.

He's Solid Gold: Now, this is a colt with a classic pedigree. By Seeking the Gold, he is a half-brother to Florida Derby and Fountain of Youth Stakes winner High Fly. And He's Solid Gold is more likely to get longer distances than High Fly, who is by Atticus. He's Solid Gold's third dam, stakes winner One Sum, was a half-sister to Belmont Stakes winner Summing.

Anak Nakal: Winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, he is by Belmont Stakes winner Victory Gallop and out of a Quiet American mare, Misk. Most important, he has two rich European stamina influences in his pedigree - Diatome and Charlottesville.

Cool Coal Man: He was a disappointment in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, but looked good in his previous starts. From the first crop of Mineshaft, he is out of Coral Sea, a three-quarter sister to Signal Tap, and his second dam is a full sister to Storm Bird.

Paint: By stamina influence Include, he is out of Pat Copelan, by speed influence Copelan. But his high-class Paul Mellon female family, along with Include, makes him attractive. His third dam is a half-sister to Horse of the Year Fort Marcy, Key to the Mint, Key to the Kingdom, and Key to Content.

Stevil: By Maria's Mon, he is out of Company Storm, sired by speed influence Storm Creek, and his second dam is by speed influence Cormorant.

Web Gem: By 2000 Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus, Web Gem is out of a speed-influence Storm Boot mare named Chasing September, but he comes from the classic Elmendorf female family that produced Big Spruce, High Tribute, Manta, Selari, and Thirty Six Red. Like War Pass, Web Gem descends from the influential broodmare Bourtai.

Aquarian: Also by Fusaichi Pegasus, he is out of the A.P. Indy (stamina) mare No Knocks, a half-sister to the Zito-trained 1994 Derby winner Go for Gin, as well as major stakes winner and sire Pleasant Tap.

Truth Rules: From the first crop of juvenile champion Vindication, he is out of the multiple grass stakes winner Film Critic, and he gets stamina from damsire Dynaformer and second damsire Secretariat.

Da' Tara: By two-time BC Classic winner Tiznow, he is out of the Pirate's Bounty mare Torchera, from a Mrs. Henry D. Paxson female line.