09/29/2010 2:27PM

Zayat has two showing Cup potential


It has been five months since Eskendereya was retired from racing a week before he would have been favored in the Kentucky Derby, and his owner, Ahmed Zayat, still hasn’t gotten over it.

“I’d be lying if I said otherwise,” Zayat said Wednesday by phone from Egypt.

But with each new crop of 2-year-olds that arrives, the potential is there for another superstar to emerge. And while Zayat has not raced all of his 2-year-olds, two have displayed serious potential and could be contenders for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs.

Though Jaycito has yet to win a race, his second-place finish to J P’s Gusto in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity was a very good effort. He is scheduled to take on J P’s Gusto again in Saturday’s Grade 1 Norfolk at Hollywood Park. Justin Phillip looked very strong winning a maiden race at Belmont Park on Sept. 18 and could wheel back in three weeks in the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont Park on Oct. 9.

Zayat said he is not into rushing his young horses and that both Jaycito and Justin Phillip would have to convince their trainers and Zayat that a start in the Breeders’ Cup was worth it.

Jaycito, trained in Southern California by Mike Mitchell, is a son of 1998 Belmont Stakes winner Victory Gallop. In both a maiden race and the Del Mar Futurity, Jaycito broke slowly from the rail and finished second. He showed speed in his maiden race and rallied from off the pace and wide in the Del Mar Futurity.

“He came like a freight train,” Zayat said, referring to Jaycito’s run in the futurity. “He’s bred to go as far as they write them. He’s got a very strong female side. The longer they go, they better we feel it will be for him. We’re very excited about him.”

The Norfolk is run at 1 1/16 miles around two turns.

Justin Phillip, named for Ahmed Zayat’s son, is by First Samurai, who finished third as the favorite in the 2005 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. On Aug. 7, at Saratoga, Justin Phillip dumped jockey Garrett Gomez, got loose on the track, and hurdled the rail and was scratched. Fortunately, he was not hurt. After running second in an Aug. 19 maiden race at the Spa, Justin Phillip, trained by Steve Asmussen, came back to win a six-furlong maiden race by 2 3/4 lengths at Belmont, running six furlongs in 1:09.83 and earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 93. The horse he beat, Opening Move, was a highly regarded horse from trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

“He wasn’t actually cranked down for that race and he ran very, very fast for a baby,” Zayat said. “Steve said he had plenty left in the tank. He is leaning very much to running in the Champagne. I’m not so sure I want to do that, being it’s back in only three weeks.”

The Champagne is scheduled to feature Uncle Mo, a 14 1/4-length debut winner at Saratoga on Aug. 28.