Updated on 09/05/2011 12:22PM

Replay: Jackson Bend finishes fast to take down Forego at Saratoga

Barbara D. Livingston
Jackson Bend, with Corey Nakatani riding, wins the Forego.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.  - In what was shaping up as a lost summer, trainer Nick Zito found himself a Grade 1 winner on Saturday when Jackson Bend split horses in midstretch and drew clear to a dominant 3 1/4-length victory in the Grade 1, $250,000 Forego Stakes at Saratoga.

 The win came six weeks after Jackson Bend began the meet with a victory in the James Marvin Stakes, and solidified his status as a major contender for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile later this year at Churchill Downs.

 Jersey Town, last year’s Cigar Mile winner, got second by a head over Aikenite. They were followed in the order of finish by Hamazing Destiny, Golddigger’s Boy, Escrow Kid, Regal Ransom, 5-2 favorite Sidney’s Candy, and Rule by Night.

 The win couldn’t have come a better time for Zito. Earlier this summer, he lost his pair of Grade 1 winners Dialed In and Morning Line to injury. Then after Jackson Bend gave Zito his first win of the meet on opening day, things went cold the rest of the way. The only two races Zito won since were low-level claiming races with Majestic Hope.

“You always get down because you’re human,’’ Zito said.

 Jackson Bend certainly lifted Zito’s spirits with an impressive victory, one in which he overcame a tardy start and displayed a quick turn of foot.

 Breaking from the rail under Corey Nakatani, Jackson Bend was seventh of nine down the backside while Hamazing Destiny and Sidney’s Candy dueled through a quarter in 22.09 seconds and a half-mile in 44.45.

 Nakatani kept Jackson Bend on the inside until the five-sixteenths pole, when he went around Rule by Night. He came into the stretch about four lengths off the lead, then powered between Escrow Kid and Hamazing Destiny and left his opponents nicely in the final sixteenth of a mile.

 Jackson Bend, a 4-year-old son of Hear No Evil owned by Robert LaPenta and Fred Brei, covered the seven furlongs in 1:22.08 and returned $8.90 as the second choice.

 “He can be tactical or if they’re going fast like they were I just let him get into that high cruising speed and when I called on him and needed him to get into position at the three-eighths pole he was there,’’ Nakatani said. “Once I angled him into a spot turning for home, I angled him down, then I angled him back out, then he exploded.’’

 Zito said he worked Jackson Bend pretty hard during the six weeks between the James Marvin and the Forego and the colt responded.

 “I’m more relieved than anything,’’ he said. “I’m very grateful to the horse. We socked it to him pretty good [with] those workouts. He hadn’t run in six weeks. Whether I’m a tough coach on him, I don’t know, but he responded. He didn’t get away good and that’s what I was afraid of with the rail but he made up for it and it worked out perfectly for him.’’

 Barclay Tagg, the trainer of Jersey Town, said he was pleased with his horse’s performance and it keeps him on schedule for the Kelso at Belmont Park on Oct. 1 and the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on Nov. 5. It is likely he will meet Jackson Bend in one if not both of those spots.

 “For what we want to do it was the right step to take, it was the right distance to take,’’ Tagg said. “You can’t train him to death - he’s got old beat-up legs. We got to take it step by step; he ran very, very credibly I thought. This should get him to the next step.’’