Zozos 'Starting To Come Into His Own' With Five-Furlong Breeze At Churchill - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Zozos ‘Starting To Come Into His Own’ With Five-Furlong Breeze At Churchill

Zozos wins an allowance race at Oaklawn Park

It was an action-filled Friday morning at Churchill Downs where Louisiana Derby (Grade 2) runner-up Zozos continued his preparation toward the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) with a five-furlong move in 1:00.60.

The trio of Hidden Connection (five furlongs, 1:00), Secret Oath (five furlongs, :59.20) and Turnerloose (five furlongs, 1:00.80), who are bound for the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI), also topped the Friday morning worktab.

Barry and Joni Butzow's Zozos, the lightly-raced son of Munnings, worked in company at 5:30 a.m. (all times Eastern) with Dawn and Ike Thrash's $300,000 Rachel Alexandra (GII) winner Turnerloose. With jockey Florent Geroux in the saddle, Zozos started about one length behind his stablemate and worked through early fractions of :24 and :48.40. The duo began their five-furlong move at the half-mile pole and Zozos finished even with Turnerloose at the seven-furlong marker. Zozos galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.60.

“He's a really smart horse,” Geroux said. “He's starting to come into his own and it was a really nice work this morning. I settled back of (Turnerloose) and he finished up nicely with her. Both horses worked well.”

Shortly after Zozos and Turnerloose worked, Hidden Brook Farm and Black Type Thoroughbreds' $400,000 TwinSpires.com Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) runner-up Hidden Connection clipped five furlongs in 1:00 under jockey Reylu Gutierrez. The Connect filly galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.60.

Gutierrez summed up the work in one word, “Awesome.”

At 7:30 a.m., Briland Farm's $300,000 Honeybee (G3) winner Secret Oath cruised five furlongs in :59.20 under jockey Luis Saez. The classy four-time winner began her work through opening eighth-mile fractions of :12.40, :23.60 and :35.20. She galloped out six furlongs in 1:12. Saez was named to ride the Arrogate filly in the Kentucky Oaks. In her last start, Secret Oath tested colts in the Arkansas Derby but flattened late to finish third behind Cyberknife and Barber Road.

“I talked to (jockey) Luis (Contreras) after the race and he was sort of surprised with how much of an explosive kick she had at the three-eighths pole,” Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. “With that explosive kick at that point in the race it was a little too much too soon. She got shuffled back at the start and got into contention but it was too much to ask. … We ran in the Arkansas Derby for a million-and-a-quarter and I thought we were the best horse going into the race and I still think we were the best.”

Other Kentucky Derby contenders that are based at Churchill Downs are the aforementioned Cyberknife, who is slated to work Saturday; UAE Derby winner Crown Pride; Louisiana Derby winner Epicenter; Gotham winner Morello; Blue Grass (G1) runner-up Smile Happy; Jeff Ruby Steaks runner-up and Lexington Stakes contender Tawny Port; and Jeff Ruby Steaks winner Tiz the Bomb.

The next Derby contender scheduled to arrive is Arkansas Derby runner-up Barber Road, who ships from Hot Springs, Ark. Friday at 2 p.m. and should arrive between 3-4 a.m. Saturday to Barn 46.

Training hours at Churchill Downs remain 5:30-10 a.m. with half-hour renovation breaks from 7-7:30 a.m. and 8:30-9 a.m. There is a 10-minute period for workers only from 7:30-7:40 a.m.

The 15-minute training window reserved for only Kentucky Derby and Oaks contenders will begin Saturday, April 23.

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