Updated on 09/17/2011 11:07AM

Zavata rolls in Amsterdam


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Zavata, who rose and then fell from grace during the 2002 Saratoga meeting, made a triumphant return to the Spa, registering an emphatic 5 1/4-length victory over Great Notion in the $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes. Posse, the even-money favorite, finished fourth in a field of seven 3-year-olds.

Zavata moved to the top of the 2 year-old division with a 7 1/4-length victory here last summer in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special. But his stock quickly plummeted 17 days later when he finished a disappointing third behind Sky Mesa as the 1-5 favorite in the Grade 1 Hopeful.

Zavata ($8.30) was reunited with jockey Jerry Bailey for the six-furlong Amsterdam. He forced the pace from the outset, stalking the early leader, Trust N Luck, through fractions of 22.00 and 44.79 seconds while saving ground over a racetrack upgraded from muddy to fast as the afternoon progressed.

Zavata readily disposed of Trust N Luck once he settled into the stretch, then steadily increased his advantage while kept under pressure through the final furlong.

Zavata had defeated a modest field of optional claiming and allowance horses at Monmouth Park in his previous start. His final time of 1:08.64 set a stakes record, breaking the old mark of 1:09 established by Distorted Humor in 1996.

"He didn't like the slop and pulled himself up at Belmont two starts back and if the racetrack had remained wet, I would have scratched him today," said Patrick Biancone, who trains Zavat.

"His last start at Monmouth was a confidence-builder and perfect setup for this race," Biancone said. "Right now the main goal is to get him ready for the Breeders' Cup Sprint. He's trained at Santa Anita and he loves that track."