02/19/2008 12:00AM

Zanjero targets Razorback


Play a quick game of "Name that Horse." This horse earned more than a million dollars last year. He came within a head of winning the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes. Still need help? His name begins with a Z.

Even with all those clues, how many racing fans could come up with the answer? It's Zanjero.

Zanjero was only a bit player on the Triple Crown trail last year, finishing a highly troubled 12th in the Kentucky Derby, and during the second half of his season he made a grand tour of high-dollar, low-profile stakes races for 3-year-olds in the eastern half of the United States. He won the West Virginia Derby, finished third in the Pennsylvania Derby, and capped his season with his best race, a 3 1/2-length score in the Indiana Derby.

But with his stablemate and one-time workout partner Curlin overseas to begin his season in Dubai, a path is open for Zanjero to make a bigger mark the first part of this year, and Zanjero, with another solid five-furlong work last weekend at Fair Grounds, is on track to start his 2008 campaign next month. He will not do so at Fair Grounds, where the upcoming option is the March 8 New Orleans Handicap, but will instead take the Oaklawn Park route and race the same day in the Razorback Handicap, trainer Steve Asmussen said. A logical objective from there would be the Oaklawn Handicap on April 5.

Zanjero worked for the fifth time this year on Sunday, going five furlongs in 1:02.40, and "is doing extremely well," Asmussen said. Zanjero is a good enough work horse that he breezed several times with Curlin last year, and Asmussen said next Monday, Zanjero could work in company with leading 3-year-old Pyro.

Zanjero and the 3-year-old Kodiak Kowboy had been on the same breeze schedule this year, but the two went their separate ways this week, with Kodiak Kowboy drilling five furlongs Tuesday morning in a bullet 1:01. Asmussen said Kodiak Kowboy's first race of the year hasn't been pinpointed, but that it would probably come in mid-March.

Nothing definite for Good and Lucky

The 5-year-old gelding Good and Lucky is both.

Good and Lucky won two allowance races going wire to wire last season at Fair Grounds, earning a start in the New Orleans Handicap, where he finished a creditable fourth after issuing an early challenge to eventual winner Master Command. Good and Lucky started just once after that, sustaining an injury in April that kept him out of training until November.

Ready to run again, Good and Lucky was entered in an $80,000 optional claiming race on the turf last Sunday. Although the race fit his conditions because it was also open to fourth-level allowance runners, it was carded for the wrong surface.

"I just took a shot entering him," trainer Josie Carroll said. "Looking at the weather forecast, I thought there was a good chance the race would come off turf."

The race was rained off turf, and Good and Lucky took an easy early lead in a five-horse field, then turned back a stretch challenge from favored Storm Treasure to win by 2 1/4 lengths.

The timing would be right for a return trip to the New Orleans Handicap, but Carroll said that no specific plans have been formulated.

"He seems to have come out of the race well," she said. "We'll get him back to the racetrack, then sit down and take a look at our options."

Old-timer Cat Ante keeps winning

Cat Ante became the first horse of the current Fair Grounds meet to win four times, notching a narrow victory on Monday in a Louisiana-bred $5,000 claiming race. Cat Ante won his first three starts at the meet for trainer Pat Mouton and the Keystone Racing Stable, but at age 9, he was claimed out of his Feb. 4 win by trainer Al Sider and owners Rich and Karen Papiese.

"He's just a hard-knocking old horse, and that's why we claimed him," Sider said Tuesday. "He's got some leg issues, and you have to work on them. He comes out of the races, and you just try to nurse him back."

Cat Ante was coming back on just two weeks' rest Monday. At the sixteenth pole, it looked like he might not catch the leader, Stryker Brigade, but Cat Ante is in refuse-to-lose mode these days, and he rallied bravely.

"You'd never know he's 9," said Sider, who also won two races Sunday. "He's good feeling, but he's real good natured. He thinks he's a 3-year-old."

Slight edge to John's Road

Thursday's featured ninth race is a second-level allowance carded for 5 1/2 furlongs on turf. On paper, there are four main contenders in an eight-horse field, and Tom Amoss trains two of them, John's Road and Chamberlain Bridge. Shark, the likely favorite, also is a logical selection, while Pimm's O'Clock is more marginal.

Of the two Amoss horses, John's Road is preferred. He won an entry-level turf-sprint allowance race on Dec. 13 at Fair Grounds, and was held up near last behind a false pace in a two-turn race at this class level on Jan. 7.