Updated on 09/17/2011 11:48AM

Zavata hits the beach

Zavata wins the Tremont last year. He also won the Saratoga Special before being injured.

OCEANPORT, N. J. - Zavata adds star power to the Thursday card at Monmouth Park.

A Phone Trick colt who was one of the early-season juvenile sensations last year, he heads to the Jersey Shore for the second start of his 2003 campaign. Trainer Patrick Biancone entered Zavata in the $41,000 optional claiming race at six furlongs in an effort to get the horse back on the winning track.

His lone start this year came at Belmont Park; a tiring fifth-place finish in the slop on May 24.

"He doesn't like the slop at all," Biancone said. "I didn't know it was going to rain that much. He came back from the race a little sore on his feet but he's going good now."

Zavata got a delayed start as he recovered from a hind ankle injury suffered in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He was pulled up around the far turn in a disappointing finish to a season that started so promisingly.

The colt received ample time to rest and recover.

"That's why he got the rest of last year off and the first half of this year as well," Biancone said. "He's a very talented horse and we've rested him getting ready for a good second half of the year."

Zavata was an immediate sensation last year. He debuted in the Three Chimneys Juvenile on Derby Day at Churchill Downs and rallied for second. He then reeled off three straight wins: a maiden special weight and the Grade 3, $100,000 Tremont Stakes at Belmont Park and the Grade 2, $150,000 Saratoga Special at Saratoga. He closed out his Saratoga season with a third-place finish behind the unbeaten Sky Mesa in the Grade 1, $200,000 Hopeful Stakes.

He started once more, in the Breeders' Cup.

Tony Farina gets the mount on Zavata who carries low weight in the race at 112 pounds. Zavata joins Rockin On Ready as the only 3-year-olds in the field of nine.

It will be interesting to see how many runners remain in the contest after Zavata's unexpected entry.

Michael Gill, the meet's leading owner, has a pair in the race: River Power, a New Jersey-bred claimed out of a winning effort for $35,000 who will run for a $40,000 claiming price, and Skip a Grade who cuts back to a sprint after finishing last in a Belmont allowance route.

Trainer Linda Rice entered Electoral College, a consistent horse who won his last three starts, all at Tampa Bay Downs. Electoral College loved Monmouth last summer, as he posted two wins and second in three starts at the meet.

Vinemeister, Jack N Gin, Slew Marshal, and Hard Delivery complete the field.