The tough-as-nails three-year-old colt Mr. Z, who most recently finished fifth in the May 16th Preakness Stakes (gr. I), is scheduled to start in the $500,000 Ohio Derby on June 20th at Thistledown.
According to a news report on the Churchill Downs website, trainer D. Wayne Lukas feels Mr. Z is ready for another race: “He’s such a tough horse… he really wants to train and he’s dragging us around.”
At 8.5 furlongs in length, the distance of the Ohio Derby should be well-suited to Mr. Z. “This is a good spot for him, it’s a mile-and-a-sixteenth,” Lukas said. “I think he’s going be a real top miler by the fall. I want to try him on the grass. He can get a mile-and-sixteenth and a mile-and-an-eighth, but I think that a flat mile is his preferred distance.”
Mr. Z breezed five furlongs at Churchill Downs in 1:00 flat on June 7th, his second workout since the Preakness. He will be part of a very talented field in the Ohio Derby that is also expected to include Illinois Derby (gr. III) winner Whiskey Ticket, Southwest Stakes (gr. III) winner Far Right, and Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) runner-up War Story.