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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Mr. Z to Arkansas Derby


D. Wayne Lukas said Monday that Mr. Z will be entered in the Arkansas Derby following a half-mile workout in company at Oaklawn Park. Mr. Z finished last in the Louisiana Derby only nine days ago.

Lukas said Mr. Z is scheduled to be ridden for the first time Saturday by Ramon Vazquez, Oaklawn’s second-leading jockey this year.

American Pharoah and Mr. Z are both owned by Ahmed Zayat. Mr. Z currently ranks 30th on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 14 points.

“I think he’s still on the radar for the (Kentucky) Derby,” Lukas said. “If he were to run in the first three, or something like that, he would earn a spot. That’s the other side of the coin.”

American Pharoah  is scheduled to arrive Wednesday. He completed major preparations for the Arkansas Derby on Sunday by working six furlongs in 1:11.60 at Santa Anita.

Mr. Z and Hillbilly Style, a 3-year-old, breezed about 10 minutes after the track opened for training Monday. Both horses were credited with :48.20. “I thought he worked well,” Lukas said.

Mr. Z came to Oaklawn as a leading Kentucky Derby candidate, but finished third in both the Smarty Jones Stakes and Southwest Stakes before the Louisiana Derby debacle when he was sent off at 3-1 odds.

Lukas said he had no explanation for Mr. Z’s poor performance in the Louisiana Derby, but he said the blinkers off experiment failed, and they'll come back on. Mr. Z wore the equipment in his previous five starts, including narrow losses in the Delta Jackpot and the Los Alamitos Futurity.

Edited Oaklawn release with additonal content by Dick Downey

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