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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