07/29/2007 11:00PM

Most Distinguished gets there to win Amsterdam


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - After watching Americanus forge clear of the field at midstretch of Monday's $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes at Saratoga and with time running out for his 2-1 favorite, Most Distinguished, trainer Nick Zito thought to himself, "Not another second."

But after finishing second in two graded stakes earlier in the weekend and 11 times overall this season, Zito's fears were allayed when Most Distinguished dug in and ran down Americanus to post a one-length victory in the Grade 2 Amsterdam.

"That was really big to get this win today after the frustrations earlier in the weekend," Zito said following the 6 1/2-furlong Amsterdam.

Most Distinguished ($6.40) benefited from a perfect trip under jockey Rafael Bejarano, sitting behind an early speed duel before rallying five wide leaving the turn and catching the former claimer Americanus in deep stretch. Americanus had dueled three wide for the lead with Out of Gwedda and Sir Five Star and edged clear while lugging in near the sixteenth pole. Starbase rallied mildly to finish third.

Most Distinguished, a son of Dixie Union owned by Live Oak Plantation, ran the distance in 1:15.97 over a fast track.

"The race set up perfectly," said Zito. "He's a very consistent horse, and it's obvious he can go both a distance or sprint."

Zito said if all goes well Most Distinguished would return in the Grade 1 King's Bishop on Aug. 25.

* Earlier in the day, Lady Joanne ($2.50) cruised to an easy 3 1/4-length victory over Altesse in the $80,000 Banshee Breeze overnight stakes for fillies and mares. Lady Joanne, who finished second behind Octave in the Grade 1 Mother Goose on June 30, will make her next start in the Grade=1 Alabama on Aug. 18.

"It was a good prep," said trainer Carl Nafzger. "She just needed one race to go to the Alabama, and it was perfect because she was able to do it easily."