08/31/2007 11:00PM

Plenty of targets for Zanjero to chase


The connections of Zanjero say their horse has a tendency to lose focus when he doesn't have something to run at. In Monday's $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park, Zanjero should have plenty to keep his mind occupied.

Zanjero, a nose winner of the West Virginia Derby in his last start, heads a competitive 11-horse field entered for the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby, the highlight of an 11-race card that begins at noon. The card also features the $200,000 Turf Monster Handicap at five furlongs on turf.

Zanjero, a son of Cherokee Run trained by Steve Asmussen, is one of five horses entered in this race who also ran in the Kentucky Derby. Zanjero finished 12th in the Derby but has since come back to run a good second to Chelokee in the Northern Dancer before holding off a challenge from Bwana Bull in the West Virginia Derby.

Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan said Zanjero made the lead too early in the Northern Dancer. In the West Virginia Derby, Bridgmohan said Zanjero was emboldened by the challenge from Bwana Bull to his outside from the three-eighths pole to the wire.

"He likes to have a target at all times to keep his mind occupied," Bridgmohan said. "From the three-eighths pole, Bwana Bull pushed him from the outside and he had enough to hold him off."

There appears to be ample speed for Zanjero to close into with the likes of Cable Boy, Timber Reserve, and Slew's Tizzy in the field.

Zanjero carried only 111 pounds in the West Virginia Derby, six fewer than Bwana Bull. On Saturday, both horses - along with Slew's Tizzy, Cowtown Cat, and Xchanger - carry 122 pounds, spotting eight pounds to the rest of the field.

"Weight has been a consideration for as long as people have been running Thoroughbreds," said Jerry Hollendorfer, trainer of Bwana Bull. "I think that will make some difference. I think my horse got a hold of the racetrack very well in West Virginia. I hope he gets a hold of the Pennsylvania track the same way. He has been training well. We're optimistic that he's going to come back and run a big race."

Eddie Castro rides Bwana Bull from post 2.

Moyer's Pond appeared to flatten out after making an early move in the West Virginia Derby, where he finished third. He spotted Zanjero five pounds in the West Virginia Derby, but now will be in receipt of eight pounds from that horse. Calvin Borel rides Moyer's Pond from post 6.

Imawildandcrazyguy finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby and then came back to run sixth in the Belmont. After winning an allowance race at Calder, Imawildandcrazyguy finished fourth behind Any Given Saturday in the Haskell.

The Florida-based trainer Bill Kaplan left Imawildandcrazyguy at Monmouth Park to train, and he fired a bullet five-furlong move in 1:00 on Aug. 28.

Trainer Todd Pletcher will send out both Cowtown Cat and Sam P. in the Pennsylvania Derby. Cowtown Cat won the Gotham and Illinois Derby in the spring but finished last in the Kentucky Derby. After running fourth as the 3-5 favorite in the Ohio Derby, he came back to run fourth behind Street Sense in the Jim Dandy.

Sam P. was fourth in the West Virginia Derby, but Pletcher believes he was compromised by an inside post position on a day when he felt outside closers had the best of it.

Turf Monster: Gaff 3 for 3 in grass sprints

The Asmussen-Bridgmohan team looks strong in the $200,000 Turf Monster with Gaff, who has won all three of his turf sprints, including the Grade 3 Aegon Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs on May 4. After running third in the Grade 3 Aristides on dirt, Gaff won a classified allowance race on the turf at Churchill on June 28.

Gaff's competition should come from the mare Unbridled Sidney, Mr. Silver, Makin Peace, and Silver Timber.