10/30/2009 12:00AM

Zacinto recovers quickly

Barbara D. Livingston
Ferneley, under Rafael Bejarano, works five furlongs in 58.60 seconds Friday morning.

ARCADIA, Calif. - The colt with the fewest career starts among the probable starters for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita on Nov. 7 may be one of the most dangerous.

Zacinto has never been worse than third in five starts, including three Group 1 and Group 2 races in England in the last 14 months. Trained by Michael Stoute, Zacinto is considered a leading contender following a game second to Breeders' Cup Classic hopeful Rip Van Winkle in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Sept. 26.

Equally as important, Zacinto appears to be over a brief training setback that cost him two days of training in October when he "tweaked a muscle behind," according to Teddy Grimthorpe, the racing manager for Khalid Abdullah. "I don't think it was very serious," Grimthorpe said.

The weeks before the BC Mile is a tough time for any training setback, but two workouts at Newmarket, England, by Zacinto this week have left the team behind the Dansili colt relieved.

Friday, Zacinto had what Teddy Grimthorpe described as a minor workout.

"He had a nice workout this morning and came out of it well," Grimthorpe said. "Stoute seemed to be pleased with him. It wasn't supposed to be a searching workout. He did a little bit on Tuesday and was moving well then."

Bred by Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms, Zacinto is one of 11 probable starters for the BC Mile. Friday, Mr. Sidney was declared from the race in favor of the Dirt Mile on the same day. Awesome Gem and Colonel John were pre-entered, but will start in the BC Classic.

The BC Mile field is led by defending champion Goldikova, who worked about a mile in France on Friday. Goldikova has won three stakes in five starts this year, in France and England. The Europeans were scheduled to be shipped to California this weekend.

"Goldikova will be tough," Grimthorpe said. "We know she can do it," referring to her ability to handle Santa Anita's turf course.

Grimthorpe considers the one-mile Queen Elizabeth to be Zacinto's best performance.

"He sat slightly off the pace and they went a good steady pace," Grimthorpe said. "He went and joined Rip Van Winkle about two furlongs out and they did battle. If anything, Rip Van Winkle pulled out a little more."

Zacinto is one of three 3-year-olds hopefuls for the BC Mile, joined by the Saratoga stakes winner Courageous Cat and the European stakes winner Delegator, who was third in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

One of America's best hopes, Ferneley, worked five furlongs in 58.60 seconds on turf at Santa Anita on Friday under jockey Rafael Bejarano. Trainer Ben Cecil timed the final quarter-mile in 22.80 seconds.

"It was a little quicker than I wanted to go," Cecil said.

Ferneley won the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile on turf on Aug. 29, and finished second to BC Filly and Mare Sprint hopeful Ventura in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile on turf on Sept. 20.