Lady and The Track | December 10, 2022

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Lukas Trainee Mr. Z Certainly Belongs

Lukas Trainee Mr. Z Certainly Belongs: In the days leading up to the Preakness, the entry status of fan favorite Mr. Z was unclear. A hard running colt, Mr. Z has yet to collect a win since his maiden thirteen starts ago, but he has collected quite a bit of public attention, albeit much in the form of sympathy. D. Wayne Lukas, one of the most respected trainers of the business, refused to shy away from the critiques leveled against his charge and instead touted his right to be involved in the big stakes races. Prior to the colt’s change of hands from Zayat Stables to Calumet Farm, Lukas boasted of Mr. Z’s pedigree, saying of all the horses to be in the Preakness, his trainee was one of the most well-bred and thus one of the most well-deserved horses to be in the classics. As usual, it looks like “Coach” is right.

Mr. Z Horse

Prior to the colt’s change of hands from Zayat Stables to Calumet Farm, Lukas boasted of Mr. Z’s pedigree, saying of all the horses to be in the Preakness, his trainee was one of the most well-bred and thus one of the most well-deserved horses to be in the classics. As usual, it looks like “Coach” is right. Photo: LATT

Mr. Z is out of the unraced Storm Cat mare Stormy Bear. Out of eight foals thus far, Stormy Bear has four runners and two winners, so looking at her as Mr. Z’s source of impressive breeding may not be the best means of discovering his class.

Second-dam Amelia Bearhart, however, provides plenty of support for Lukas’s claim. An allowance runner and stakes-placed at two, Amelia Bearhart’s brilliance showed in her career as a broodmare for Spendthrift Farm. The 1996 Canadian Broodmare of the Year produced fifteen foals with eleven runners and nine winners, providing an impressive enough winning percentage of her progeny. By far her most impressive foal was Chief Bearhart, a 1993 colt by Chief’s Crown who was the 1996-1998 Canadian Champion Grass Horse and the 1997 Breeders’ Cup Turf (GI) winner, Canadian Champion Older Horse, and American Champion Grass Horse. Chief Bearhart also cinched the title of Canadian Horse of the Year for two consecutive years.

Next on Amelia Bearhart’s list of good runners is Explosive Red, a 1990 colt by Explodent who was a multiple graded stakes winner on the turf at three with claims to the Forerunner Stakes (GIII), American Derby (GII), and Hollywood Derby (GI). While certainly not as impressive as those two progeny, Memorized, a 1988 colt by Ziggy’s Boy, was stakes placed multiple times in 55 starts, but he illustrated a different sort of breeding in excelling in dirt sprints with a record of 11 wins, 13 places, and 10 shows.

Amelia Bearhart produced a full sister to Stormy Bear named Platinum Heights, but her success as a broodmare is rather unclear as she has had only one winner from four runners. However, half-sister Lure the Bear (Lure) produced Achiever’s Legacy, a current filly who is multiple graded stakes placed, including her most recent third-place finish in the Fantasy Stakes (GIII) at Oaklawn. Half-sister Ruby Ransom (Red Ransom) produced multiple Canadian and American graded stakes winner and turf runner Strut the Stage.

Interestingly enough, Mr. Z’s third-dam is Myrtlewood Lass, a 1972 foal by Ribot out of Gold Digger and thus a half-sister to breed-shaping sire Mr. Prospector. Myrtlewood Lass was mostly an allowance runner, but as a broodmare, her seven foals went on to race, and five of them entered the winner’s circle. Of those, her sons Rathman (Geiger Counter) and Timber Way (Seattle Dancer) were most successful as both had lengthy racing careers and were stakes placed.

Malibu Moon (A.P. Indy – Macoumba, by Mr. Prospector) is the rising sire of Mr. Z. Racing only twice as a juvenile, Malibu Moon was forced into an untimely retirement with a fractured knee, but his aptitude as a sire was soon apparent. Now standing at Spendthrift Farm for a fee of $95,000, Malibu Moon has sired 88 stakes winners and 31 graded stakes winners. He is a rather versatile sire with sprinters, milers, and horses able to get classic distances, evinced by Orb through his 2013 win in the Kentucky Derby (GI) and third-place finish in the Belmont Stakes (GI). He has a few promising three-year-olds this year aside from Mr. Z, including Stanford, Danzig Moon, and Where’s the Moon. While the average winning distance of his foals is about seven furlongs, Malibu Moon has certainly proven to throw all sorts of runners.

While Stormy Bear herself may not have much of a produce record to back up Mr. Z’s class, her family has certainly proven to pass on its prowess on the track. Likewise, Malibu Moon is evolving into an impressive sire who prepares his offspring for various distances. Lukas once voiced his thought that he may cut Mr. Z back in distance to try him in some sprint or mile races, but maybe he should also consider trying him on the turf. Regardless of where Mr. Z winds up, it is certain that he will belong there.

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