Updated on 09/15/2011 2:35PM

Monarchos ready to resume serious training


MIAMI - Trainer John Ward was scheduled to have flown to south Florida on Saturday to oversee a Sunday workout at Gulfstream Park by Monarchos, the first work by the 2001 Kentucky Derby winner since he arrived here last week to begin preparations for his 4-year-old campaign.

According to assistant trainer Yvonne Azeff, Monarchos has been jogging and galloping between 1 1/4 miles and 1 3/8 miles on a daily basis and continues to do well while adjusting to this track and the balmy climate.

Monarchos won all three of his starts at Gulfstream last winter, including the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

"He had a couple of easy breezes before leaving Kentucky," said Azeff. "But John wanted him to have a chance to settle in over the track before we work him here."

Monarchos has not started since finishing third in the Belmont Stakes.

Zito returns to Calder

The familiar blue-and-white saddle towels of trainer Nick Zito can be seen on a daily basis during training hours at Calder for the first time in many years. The two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer has taken 15 stalls this winter at the training center located adjacent to the Calder barn area.

Zito, like many horsemen who have been stabling at Hialeah the past several years, had to make alternative plans when it was announced that the Hialeah barn area would not open this winter. In addition to his horses here, Zito has a full barn of 29 horses at Gulfstream Park.

"It's going to be a different kind of winter for me this year," Zito said at Gulfstream on Saturday morning. "Not only am I back training some of my horses at Calder for the first time in quite a while, [but] I don't have an A P Valentine or an Albert the Great in my barn. But if everything works out the way I'd like, I'll have something to run in the Florida Derby."

Steve Flint in 'rebuilding year'

Trainer Steve Flint will be spending his first winter in Florida since striking out on his own earlier this year and, like Zito, has a full barn of 29 stabled at Gulfstream. Among them are a couple of Gulfstream favorites, Da Bertie and Outofthebox.

"We gave some of our better horses time off this winter, although Da Bertie and Outofthebox really seem to like this place," said Flint, who took over the training of a majority of the horses owned by Bertram and Elaine Klein from his father, Bernard Flint. "Actually, this will be pretty much of a rebuilding year for us with a lot of young but well-bred horses in the barn.

"We've got a sister to Hurricane Bertie, a sister to Da Bertie, and a brother to Could Be. And how the young horses perform will pretty much determine how we'll do here this winter."

o Local sports stars Rob Murphy, Charles Johnson, Ron Fraser, Kim Bokamper, and Braden Looper participated in an autograph session during Saturday's Grand Slam I program. Murphy, who played with six teams, including the Florida Marlins, during his 14-year Major League Baseball career, is the owner of 2000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up and local stakes winner Platinum Tiara.