08/13/2002 11:00PM

Nobody can come close to Zavata


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Zavata lived up to his 2-5 odds by overcoming a wide trip and a deep, slow Saratoga main track to win Wednesday's Grade 2, $150,000 Saratoga Special by 7 1/4 lengths.

Lone Star Sky, who had to take up at the quarter pole, re-rallied to be second, 3 3/4 lengths ahead of Spite the Devil. Awesome of Course and Desert Warrior completed the order of finish.

Under Jerry Bailey, Zavata raced in third position but was four wide down the backside, behind Awesome of Course, who set fractions of 22.25 seconds and 45.70 while being chased by Desert Warrior.

Bailey kept Zavata wide around the turn and into the stretch, and while it appeared he might have contributed to tightening things up on Lone Star Sky at the quarter pole, Zavata galloped home an easy winner. In winning his third straight race, Zavata covered the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.65 and returned $2.90 to win. There was a minus show pool of $57,252 on Zavata.

"Like all good horses, he handled everything,'' said trainer Patrick Biancone, who said Zavata, a son of Phone Trick owned by Michael Tabor, would most likely return in the Grade 1 Hopeful on Aug. 31. "He was caught a bit wide, like usual, but he was just so much better than the other ones. It made it easy for Jerry, easy for me. He's just a galloping machine. I don't think you meet too many like him in a trainer's life.''

Although there were only five horses in the field, it was a roughly run race. At the quarter pole, Spite the Devil tried to rally up the rail, but appeared to be bothered by Awesome of Course, under Javier Castellano. At that point, Mark Guidry was trying to rally Lone Star Sky between horses, but Awesome of Course and Zavata closed that hole.

Although Lone Star Sky suffering his first loss, trainer Tom Amoss was pleased with the colt's performance, and looked forward to longer races down the road.

"He got stopped pretty dramatically turning for home,'' Amoss said. "That's not to say we were gong to beat the other horse; we weren't, but he finished well and it gives us good hope for the future and longer races.''