Malibu Moon added two stakes winners to his expansive list of black-type winners when hard-nosed Mr. Z broke through with a victory in the $500,000 Ohio Derby and Luna Time scored in the Obeah S. (G3) at Delaware Park.
Mr. Z is Malibu Moon’s leading earner of 2015 and has helped put the Spendthrift stallion into seventh on this year’s General Sire list with over $4.4 million in progeny earnings.
The Ohio Derby drew a solid field of eight 3-year-olds for the 1 1/16-mile contest at Thistledown. Mr. Z went right to the front, with Tencendur about a length behind. After a six furlongs in 1:11.66, Mr. Z had Divining Rod alongside. Tencendur, who had dropped back on the turn, re-rallied in the stretch and a trio of horses hit the wire together, with Mr. Z a nose better than Tencendur, who is by Spendthrift stallion Warrior’s Reward, while Divining Rod was a head back in third (VIDEO).
"It wasn't a wasted plane flight today, was it?" said jockey Joe Bravo, who flew in to ride Mr. Z for the first time. "(At the) [t]op of the lane, the horses come to each side of this horse. He could have got beat today, but he just put his ears back and said 'Come on, jock, we're going to win today.'
"Mr. Z's a fighter and you couldn't underestimate this race. There were some really nice, talented horses that have been chasing American Pharoah all year long."
With seven graded stakes placings and his $300,000 Ohio Derby payday, Mr. Z is less than $3,000 from being a millionaire. Bred in Kentucky by Richard D. Maynard out of the Storm Cat mare Stormy Bear, Mr. Z sold for $135,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky 2013 fall yearling sale when selected for Zayat Stables by Patrice Miller/EQB. Zayat campaigned the colt up through his unplaced Kentucky Derby (G1) effort, when he was sold to Calumet Farm while remaining in the care of Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas.
Luna Time’s Obeah win
Contrasting Mr. Z’s front-running score, Luna Time scored a come-from-behind victory in the $100,000 Obeah S. (G3) at Delaware Park.
With jockey Forest Boyce aboard, the 4-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon was eighth early before a rally on the far turn carried her to the front. After a duel in upper stretch, she drew off for a three–length score to cover the mile and an eighth in 1:49.58 on a fast track.
“I was loaded for bear today,” said winning jockey Forest Boyce. “She never ever really relaxed 100%, but she kept getting stronger, which gave me confidence. When I did ask her at 3/8ths pole, she really responded.”
The Obeah was the first career stake victory for Luna Time, who raised her record to four wins from nine starts with earnings of $195,000 for owners Dorsey Brown and Richard Palmer. She could make her next start in the July 18th Delaware H. (G1).