Zulu Stamps Derby Credentials With Gulfstream Maiden Win

Zulu Stamps Derby Credentials With Gulfstream Maiden Win

On the first day of the Gulfstream Park winter meet, trainer Todd Pletcher sent out the promising two-year-old Zulu to score a convincing win in a six-furlong maiden special weight, an impressive performance that quickly stamped Zulu as a potential Derby contender.

The son of Bernardini, who sold for $400,000 as a yearling and $900,000 as a two-year-old in training, was sent off as the odds-on favorite at 3-5 off an impressive series of workouts at Palm Beach Downs. With John Velazquez in the saddle, Zulu broke well and was sent straight to the lead, posting fractions of :22.35 and :45.18 while being closely pursued by eventual runner-up Sharp Azteca. The two colts continued to duel down the homestretch through five furlongs in :57.33, after which Zulu kicked away through a final furlong in :12.75 to win by two lengths. The final time over a track labeled “good,” but which seemed closer to sloppy, was a quick 1:10.08.

Owned by the powerful team of Stonestreet Stables, Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith, Zulu’s dam is the Summer Squall mare Temporada, giving Zulu a pedigree that appears very well-suited to the ten-furlong distance of the Kentucky Derby. In fact, given his pedigree, the fact that Zulu was able to win so decisively in a sprint race is impressive, stamping him as a very promising colt.

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Follow J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman"):

J. Keeler Johnson is a writer, blogger, videographer, and all-around horse racing enthusiast who was drawn to the sport by Curlin’s quest to become North America’s richest racehorse. A great fan of racing history, he considers Dr. Fager to be the greatest racehorse ever produced in America, but counts Zenyatta as his all-time favorite. He lives in Wisconsin and also writes for the Bloodhorse.com blog Unlocking Winners.

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All Todd Pletcher does is win money and races.