01/21/2015 12:50PM

Zito hopeful Frammento can step it up in Holy Bull

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Barbara D. Livingston
Frammento, who runs Saturday in the Holy Bull, is trainer Nick Zito's top Kentucky Derby hope.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Nick Zito has run 25 horses in the Kentucky Derby since he had his first Derby starter 25 years ago. That’s an average of precisely one per year, and if Zito has his way, he’ll maintain that nice round number through this year.

Frammento, one of 10 3-year-olds entered in the Holy Bull Stakes on Saturday at Gulfstream Park, is the colt on whom Zito is pinning his 2015 Derby hopes, emerging prospects notwithstanding.

“I can’t say I have any others on the Derby trail, although you never know,” Zito said this week by phone from his Palm Meadows barn. “I mean, I’ve got a couple others I like, so if one’s ready to jump up, let me know. Matter of fact, wake me up in the middle of the night if that’s the case because I want to be the first to know.”

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Frammento, a chestnut Kentucky-bred by Midshipman, has won once in four starts and will be making his stakes debut in the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull. The colt was fourth in a seven-furlong maiden race at Saratoga, won a Keeneland maiden route, ran fourth in a Churchill Downs allowance, and most recently was second to Bluegrass Singer (the subsequent winner of the Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream) in a Dec. 17 allowance at Gulfstream. His Beyer Speed Figures have improved with every race, ending with an 81 in his latest start.

“The thing I love about the horse is he’s very consistent,” said Zito, a Hall of Fame trainer who won the Derby in 1991 with Strike the Gold and 1994 with Go for Gin.

“That’s his main strength. My hope is he’ll be able to hang out with the better horses. I think he’s done that so far. He was able to get through those races pretty well at Saratoga, Keeneland, Churchill. The horse that beat him last out came back to win, so that was nice to see. What I need is for him to just keep going forward, keep stepping up.”

Frammento is owned by Mossarosa, the stable name of Nena Moss. With Luis Saez to ride, he figures as one of the secondary favorites behind Upstart and Frosted in the Grade 2 Holy Bull, one of five stakes on a terrific 11-race Saturday card.

◗ There isn’t so much as one allowance on a 10-race Friday card. First post is 12:30 p.m. Eastern.