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2015 Kentucky Derby Contender Mr. Z is Pure Muscle

2015 Kentucky Derby Contender Mr. Z is Pure Muscle: The Road to the Kentucky Derby began in September in the Iroquois Stakes at Churchill, where Lucky Player became the first to earn 10 points toward a spot in the starting gate. The Iroquois 5th place finisher recently just earned 4 more points toward his starting in the 2015 Kentucky Derby.

2015 Kentucky Derby Contender Mr. Z

Mr. Z, pictured above with jockey Corey Lanerie, is on the Road to the 2015 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs the first weekend of May.
Photo: Chelsea Durand, Coglianese/NYRA

Mr. Z now has 8 Kentucky Derby points, making him 8th on the leaderboard, which is led by Carpe Diem, who has 14 points so far. Mr. Z most recently finished a nose behind Ocho Ocho Ocho in the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot. Fighting the entire stretch, Mr. Z barely missed the win the Jackpot. The colt seems to have started to figure it out a bit. Blinkers seemed have focused the colt.

Mr. Z hasn’t actually won a race since his debut race at Churchill going 6 furlongs over the main track, where he did beat eventual stakes winner, Hashtag Bourbon. Mr. Z seems to have developed a case of seconditis, where he has regularly finished second in most of his starts. His two off the board starts came in the G3 Iroquois at Churchill Downs and the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, which was won by Texas Red.

The Zayat family, who previously raced Bodemeister, Nehro, and Paynter, owns Mr. Z. The Hall of Fame trainer, D. Wayne Lukas, trains the colt. D. Wayne Lukas is one trainer who does not baby his horses. He does race his horses, and since Mr. Z’s debut in June, the colt has run every month, and twice in November. Mr. Z is likely to resurface at the beginning of 2015 for another race, likely contending the Triple Crown Trail.

Mr. Z was a very early foal, born on January 12, 2012 to the Storm Cat mare, Stormy Bear. The colt was the product of a mating to Spendthrift’s sire, Malibu Moon. Malibu Moon was out on the map in 2013 when his son Orb won the sloppy Kentucky Derby. Mr. Z is mated on the same cross (Malibu Moon/Storm Cat mare) as 37 other foals. Of 37 foals, 29 have started (78%), 22 have won a race (59%), and 3 have black type wins (8%). The cross has resulted in net earnings of a bit over $2.3 million. The cross works, and breeder Richard Maynard saw this. Zayat saw the potential in the colt as well, when they purchased the colt in the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Fall Yearling Sale for a solid $135,000.

Mr. Z has a lot of speed that needs to be harnessed and reserved if he has any hope of improving and competing on the 2015 Road to the Kentucky Derby. Malibu Moon is not known for his colts, but for his race mares. However, the sire should pass on plenty of stamina to his offspring. He has sired top-notch horses such as Devil May Care, Onlyforyou, Orb, and Declan’s Moon.

Mr. Z’s dam, Stormy Bear, was an unraced mare by the legendary Storm Cat, who is one the most prominent sires in recent thoroughbred breeding history. Storm Cat never made it to the Triple Crown trail, but he was grade one winner at age 2. He is notorious for passing along speed, but also stamina, to his offspring. Mr. Z seems to have gotten the mixture, with a higher dose of speed.

Mr. Z is a big colt, maturing fast, with a nice leg. His stride is long and reaching, and has no wasted motions. He has a nice hip and balanced hindquarters. The colt is seemingly bigger than most in his crop, and is pure muscle. Mr. Z is tall, strong, and well put together. He should mature more in his sophomore year and if Lukas can harness his speed, allowing him to rate a bit better, the colt will be a huge threat come Kentucky Derby time.

Related Links:
2015 Kentucky Derby Prep Schedule