02/22/2010 12:00AM

Zito finds another good 3-year-old prospect


Trainer Nick Zito said he was pleased with the efforts of both his horses in the Fountain of Youth. Jackson Bend finished second after taking a valiant run at the winner around the second turn, while Ice Box checked home fifth following a slow start and wide trip.

Zito said Ice Box would likely return in the Florida Derby, while Jackson Bend will get more time and be pointed to the Grade 1 Wood.

"This was Ice Box's first start against gorillas and I thought he ran very well considering he had the outside post, broke slow and was forced to race wide most of the way," said Zito. "The key with him, as with all my 3-year-olds at this time of year, is to see how they improve as we move along."

Zito was even more excited Sunday after watching his lightly raced but talented Fly Down register a hard-fought nose decision over First Dude under Lezcano in a 1 1/8-mile entry-level allowance race. The win was the second in three starts for Fly Down, a son of Mineshaft owned by Richard Pell.

"That was cool," said Zito. "I haven't gotten that excited during a race like this in a long time. That's a pretty good horse he beat today.

"Jose rode a brilliant race. He told me afterwards that Fly Down got a little tired but he had to since he hasn't started in a while. Mr. Pell is a patient owner, so let's see what happens next month. This is a lightly raced horse and the Triple Crown has three races, right or wrong? Maybe that gives a little hint about what we're thinking."

Runner-up First Dude won an early pace duel with the odds-on favorite Colizeo before just failing to withstand the winner.