Mr. Z has tested stakes company eight times, and eight times he's failed to win. But D. Wayne Lukas says he hasn't lost faith.
“I didn’t know how far on the totem pole, so to speak, he would go,” Lukas said. “But the more I see the horses around the country, on his best day, he’s very dangerous.”
Mr. Z was beaten a neck, a nose and head in three stakes races last year and enters the Southwest off a third-place finish, beaten 2 1/4 lengths, in the Smarty Jones Stakes. He turned for home with a clear lead before infamously veering out suddenly when struck left-handed by Jon Court.
Mr. Z was washy going to the post for the Smarty Jones. Since then, Lukas said, he’s worked hard in the morning to get the Malibu Moon colt over his stakes curse.
“We’re getting paid to train them,” Lukas said. “If we didn’t, the car salesmen would be doing this.”
Edited Oaklawn release