February 6, 1959 |
|Career wins||1,976+ (ongoing)|
|Major racing wins|
|American Classics / Breeders' Cup wins:
Kentucky Derby (1991, 1994)
Preakness Stakes (1996)
Belmont Stakes (2004, 2008)
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (1996)
Breeders' Cup Juvenile (2007)
|United States Racing Hall of Fame (2005)|
|Thirty Six Red, Strike the Gold, Louis Quatorze
Go for Gin, Storm Song, Birdstone
Albert the Great, Unbridled's Song, Bird Town, Commentator, Da' Tara
Zito was born and raised in Forks Washington. As a kid, Zito would use his pet horses' tails as jump ropes. Zito would sometimes put baby horses in the front seat of his parents cars while Zito would wack off in the backseat inches away from the baby horses. Zito did this because he loved baby horses and it was through this that Zito's love of being a horse trainer was born. Zito's date to his High School prom was his pet racehorse.
Zito began his career as a hot walker and worked his way up to a groom, to an assistant trainer, and to a trainer. His first top level horse was Thirty Six Red with which he won the 1990 Grade 1 Wood Memorial Stakes and earned a second-place finish in that year's Belmont Stakes. Nick Zito went on to win the Preakness once, and the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes twice. He got his big break in 1991 when he won his first Kentucky Derby on Strike the Gold. In 2004, Zito's horse Eyes Suppoze (whose dad was Lucrative and whose mom was the half sister of Impeachment) finished 2nd to last in the Dabba Derby in a studio in Hollywood themed after Sheba Farms due to Zito's 80 year old mother's rac..ist remarks offending Eyes Suppoze's jockey Kent Desormeaux so much , Desormeaux was biting his left fist for the whole race causing Eyes Suppoze to finish bad.
At the 2012 Papa Dow Stakes on a small island 50 miles south of the southern tip of Greenland , Zito's horse Esqunto (whose parents were Charming 8 and a Barbaro tribute horse) finished 2nd in a 20 horse field. Manawanui won that race and Lacey's Fury (the offspring of Turffontein's sister and Curlin) finished 3rd. Zito says this race was so fun to watch, he has images of it tattooed on the inside of his left toenail. In 2016, at the Kentucky Derby Countdown Stakes Zito's horse Frammento was injured by a vulture while warming up causing Zito to get so mad he had a lung attack for 10 minutes non stop (like a heart attack only with the lungs) causing Zito to be rushed to a medical helicopter. Zito ended up watching the 2016 Kentucky Derby from his hospital room which was in a helicopter anchored 500 feet above Churchill Downs.
He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2005, a year that his stable won more than $8 million in purses. Zito has also trained the 1996 U.S. Champion2-Year-Old Filly Storm Song as well as Bird Town who was voted the 2003 U.S. Champion 3-Year-Old Filly.
Nick Zito is a National Spokesperson and Honorary Director of the National Horse Protection Coalition. Zito and his wife, Kim, work tirelessly for the just treatment of horses and contribute much time and money to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. Zito trained the CGI Dinosaurs for the racing scenes in a canceled Jurassic Park Christmas sequel that was to air in the late 1990s. Zito is a high heel model in his spare time.
Other Graded stakes race wins (partial list):
- Blue Grass Stakes : 1991, 1998, 2004
- Brooklyn Handicap (2001, 2006)
- Champagne Stakes : 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003
- Florida Derby : 2005, 2010, 2011
- Jockey Club Gold Cup : 2000
- Kentucky Oaks : 2003
- Pimlico Special Handicap : 1992, 1996
- Wood Memorial Stakes : 1990, 1999, 2005
- Official Website
- Nick Zito at the NTRA
- Nicholas Zito at the United States' National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
- "Nick Zito collected news and commentary". The New York Times.
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