03/15/2008 11:00PM

War Pass checks out OK; Zito mystified

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Trainer Nick Zito still had no explanation Sunday for the performance of War Pass, who was eased to the finish line as the 1-20 favorite Saturday in the $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby. The loss was the first in six starts for the Eclipse Award winning 3-year-old.

“All the preliminary tests we've done are good," Zito said. "He scoped clean after the race, his airways are great, and he had no infection. He seems fine although he did have some cuts on his left leg when he came back that he probably sustained when jostled around leaving the gate. We'll take some x-rays and run some additional tests and see what happens this week. If everything passes, we'll go on from there."

Zito said if all goes well over the next several weeks, War Pass could still make his next start in the Grade 1 Wood at Aqueduct on April 5.

"If all the tests are negative and he's doing okay, he'll go back into training and work, and if he doesn't work good then forget about it," Zito said. "Hopefully he'll move on from this race, and we'll just be able to put a line through it."