08/03/2012 4:08PM

Saratoga: Casual Trick on right track

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Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Nick Zito is looking for a soft spot for Casual Trick's next start.

It appears that trainer Nick Zito has Casual Trick headed in the right direction.

Casual Trick, a 3-year-old son of Bernardini, lost two straight races by a combined 50 3/4 lengths and was eased in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. He was reported to have a breathing problem.

Casual Trick returned to the races July 4 and won an allowance race at Parx Racing by 2 1/2 lengths, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 92.

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On Friday, Casual Trick worked a solid half-mile in 48.22 seconds, the fastest of 11 works at the distance. Zito said he would like to find another relatively soft spot for Casual Trick before attempting stakes company.

“We’re still trying to build up his confidence,” Zito said. “You love to see a horse like that come back. He looked good this morning, and we’ll go from there.”

Aikenite back with Pletcher

Aikenite, a 5-year-old multiple graded stakes winner who was retired in March by Dogwood Stable, has been put back in training and is in trainer Pletcher’s Belmont Park barn with designs on a fall campaign.

Cot Campbell, president of Dogwood, said that ankle issues prompted him to retire Aikenite, but with the breeding season in full swing, he couldn’t be sold as a stallion prospect. Aikenite was sent to Barry Eisaman’s farm in Florida and has shown enough in training that Campbell decided to bring him back. Aikenite, who has won two Grade 2 stakes, has not run since finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint last November.

“With his race record, the ultimate objective is to find him the appropriate home for stallion duty,” Campbell said. “However, we couldn’t have retired him at a worse time – he had no options for the 2012 season. Barry and I talked in June about the feasibility of putting him back in training, in as much as the stallion market doesn’t heat up until the fall. The result has Aikenite showing great enthusiasm. For a horse that ran hard, but was never one to volunteer much in his training.”