SARATOGA SPRINGS — A new company in horse racing and management has emerged in Saratoga Springs, led by a legendary trainer and an experienced business leader.
ZD Horse Racing and Management is run by president Nick Zito, a renowned trainer who was inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame in 2005, and vice president Robert DiPippo, who brings along a wealth of business experience.
Combining Zito’s training experience with DiPippo’s financial expertise, ZD Horse Racing buys and manages horses, and oversees their care and training. The company also handles training regimens, veterinary care, and works with jockeys and other personnel, their website states.
DiPippo, who grew up in Garden City before moving to Saratoga several years ago, said he had no prior background in the horse racing industry before the launch of ZD. He said that the venture initially began after a chance meeting with Zito at Max London’s Restaurant.
“I’m sitting at the bar, and there’s a guy next to me,” said DiPippo. “And everybody’s coming up to this guy, and they’re going, ‘Hey, how are you?’ … I said, ‘You look familiar.’ And then he told me his name, and I almost fell on the floor.”
The two began meeting, with Zito expressing his desire to enter the horse management business. The company officially launched on Opening Day at the Saratoga Race Course this summer, with DiPippo saying working alongside Zito has been “a thrill of a lifetime.”
“When I sat there with him, he started telling me about this business. I said, ‘Woah, this could be a real great fit,’” DiPippo said. “(I am) a guy who doesn’t know anything about horses, but has the business acumen to come in and put it together.”
DiPippo is handling many of the company’s business aspects, while Zito primarily deals with horse training and management, they said. DiPippo has served as president and CEO of several companies, he said, and brings his business experience to the ZD Horse Racing team.
Zito has trained horses that have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes among others.
“Obviously, I’ve identified tons of great horses in my career,” said Zito. “I’ve purchased a whole bunch of them right across the street (at Fasig-Tipton). We’ve had some Derby winners, Belmont winners, that I’ve bought across the street.”
Since launching, DiPippo said things have been going well for ZD Horse Racing. The company, acting as agents for high-profile clients, purchased Hip 53, a bay colt by Practical Joke, for $250,000 at the 2023 Saratoga Sale hosted by Fasig-Tipton on Aug. 7, according to records on the Fasig-Tipton website.
DiPippo also said it has been meaningful to work alongside Zito, saying he is “the most respected man in the horse racing business.”
“I’m lucky to be affiliated with this man,” DiPippo said of Zito. “And he’s taught me a lot, just hanging out with him.”