Justin Phillip heads Zayat weekend stakes contingent

Posted to: Justin Phillip Friday, August 2, 2013
Justin Phillip could go a long way in firming up his Breeders' Cup plans this weekend as the Zayat Stables colorbearer goes postward in the $400,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. (G1) at Saratoga on Sunday.

In addition to Justin Phillip, on Saturday Zayat will send out homebred's Mordi's Miracle in the $200,000 West Virginia Governor's S. at Mountaineer Park and Lia's Miracle in the $125,000 Nandi S. at Woodbine.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, Justin Phillip suffered a tough neck loss in the 2012 Vanderbilt, and his trainer is hoping for a little better luck for his veteran campaigner.

"He's a tough old war horse, made a lot of starts, earned some money, and we're hoping this will be a little redemption from last year's tough beat," Asmussen said.

Five-year-old Justin Phillip certainly has earned his way over the course of 28 starts in his career. He's hit the board in 18 of those outings, earning $878,437, with highlight wins in the Woody Stephens (G2) at three and the Count Fleet Sprint H. (G3), where he handed Vanderbilt foe Gentlemen's Bet his only career defeat, earlier this year.

Justin Phillip, who will be ridden by John Velazquez, drew post four in the five horse field, which is carded as race nine and scheduled to run at 5:12 p.m. ET.

Lia's Miracle will make her stakes debut in the Nandi, which is restricted to 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs. Also trained by Asmussen, Lia's Miracle broke her maiden in her lone start to date, July 13 at Woodbine. She will break from the rail under Luis Contreras in the nine horse field, where she was installed the 5-2 second choice on the morning line.

The Nandi, race six, goes off at 3:16 p.m. ET.

Mordi's Miracle was assigned the outside post in the field of seven for the 1 1/16-mile Governor's. The 4-year-old son of Lawyer Ron, trained by Todd Pletcher, was second in his only stakes start, the Grade 3 Excelsior H. at Aqueduct in March.
 
Rosie Napravnik has the mount for the Governor's, which runs as race seven at 5:12 p.m. ET.