03/19/2005 12:00AM

Java Wit continues perfect meet

Email

OLDSMAR Fla. - If Java Wit had her way, she would probably vote for Tampa Bay Downs to run 300 days a year. On Friday, she scored her fourth win of the meet without a loss when she took a wide route to beat a field of $25,000 claiming females. The race was moved from the turf to the main track after torrential rain pelted the area late Wednesday and Thursday.

The only other four-time winners at the meet are Dry Ice, Hi Time Scott, and Suave Todd.

Java Wit, a 6-year-old mare trained by Richard Paulus, came off a layoff of more than three months to win her first start of the meet Jan. 2, a turf race for a $16,000 claiming price. She moved to the $25,000 range a month later and made it two in a row, again rallying from off the pace to be along in the final strides. Java Wit then changed tactics in her third start, pressing the pace throughout a 1 1/16-mile turf race in which the pace was slow. Jose Ferrer has been aboard Java Wit for all her wins.

Zwiesler on serious streak

Winning at 20 percent or higher is considered the benchmark for success in the training business. In the past three weeks, Mike Zwiesler has been winning at better than 70 percent.

"I've been hot lately," said Zwiesler, who, like his mentor, Neil Howard, shuns the spotlight whenever possible. "I'm getting the horses in where they need to be, and we've found spots where they can compete. It can all change tomorrow, so you have to enjoy it while it lasts."

The stable started its hot streak on Feb. 24, when Silver Streak left the maiden ranks by eight lengths. In the subsequent three weeks, Zwiesler sent out 8 other winners from 11 starters. One maiden winner during that streak who may bear watching is Trooping the Color, who is out of the mare Runup the Colors, a half-sister to the stallion Top Account. Runup the Colors won the Alabama Stakes, Delaware Oaks, and earned $555,000 during her career. Trooping the Color rallied from well off the pace to split rivals and win going away at 1 1/16 miles.

Mike Zwiesler grew up around horses. His father, Edwin, struck gold with an unraced mare named Dan's Dream, who produced several stakes winners, including Costly Dream, who beat champion Susan's Girl in the 1975 Berlo Handicap. Mike Zwiesler tried working outside the horse industry before going to visit his brother Tom, who worked for trainer Neil Howard.

"I just never left," Zwiesler said of his visit to the Howard barn, calling Howard "my mentor and teacher," and adding, "I owe it all to him."

Zwiesler worked for Howard for 16 years before taking a position as private trainer for Bayard Sharp, a longtime owner and breeder and the husband of Sarah Farish, the daughter of Howard's longtime patron, Will Farish. Sharp, who raced such notables as Dixieland Band and Mississippi Mud, died in 2001, and the Farish family told Zwiesler they would like him to continue to train for them with some of the horses racing in Sarah's name and others for partnerships Will Farish put together.

"It's a wonderful organization," Zwiesler said, "You put more pressure on yourself because you really want to do well for them."

Right now he's doing just fine.