NEW YORK - No one is in more of a New York state of mind these days than Brooklyn-born Nick Zito.
And why not?
The Hall-of-Fame trainer will be looking for his third win in six years in the $1 million, 11/2-mile Belmont Stakes on Saturday, and he has two of the three favorites for the final leg of the Triple Crown.
Ice Box, the Florida Derby winner who staged a tremendous rally to finish second in the Kentucky Derby, is the 3-1 morning-line choice. Fly Down, a lightly raced colt who blew away the field by six lengths in winning the Dwyer last month, is the 9-2 third choice.
First Dude poses a huge threat as the 7-2 second choice. The colt trained by Dale Romans is coming off a gallant runner-up effort in the Preakness. "The Belmont will be his race because he wants to go a mile and a half," Romans said, "and he'll love the track."
The forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-80s and a 50 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms.
The New York Racing Association is hoping for a crowd approaching last year's 52,000, which showed up for Summer Bird's win without a Triple Crown on the line.
But Sinatra's "New York, New York" is out as the song that accompanies the horses onto the track before the race. It's being replaced by Alicia Keys' version of Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind."
Belmont Park, Race 11, post time: 6:32 p.m. TV: 6ABC, 5 p.m.
Post Horse Jockey Odds 1. Dave in Dixie Borel 20-1
2. Spangled Star. . . Gomez 30-1
3. Uptowncharlybrown Maragh 10-1
4. Make Music for Me Rosario 10-1
5. Fly Down Velazquez 9-2
6. Ice Box Lezcano 3-1
7. Drosselmeyer Smith 12-1
8. Game On Dude. . . M. Garcia 10-1
9. Stately Victor. . . A. Garcia 15-1
10. Stay Put Theriot 20-1
11. First Dude Dominguez 7-2