Multiple grade 1 winner Private Zone has been retired to Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement facility in Georgetown, Ky, Old Friends founder Michael Blowen said April 25.
Campaigned by Good Friends Stable, Private Zone had not raced since running fourth in the Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes (G3) last July. The 8-year-old Macho Uno gelding is expected to be in quarantine for about a week, according to Blowen, before joining the rest of the Old Friends herd.
"He's a beautiful horse and very sweet," Blowen said from Keeneland Tuesday morning. "We had heard that he wasn't (kind), but he really is a very sweet horse."
Private Zone's raw ability on the track was rivaled only by his quirks. He made his first nine starts in Panama where he became a group 1 winner, but also developed a reputation as a head case due to his predisposition for stopping randomly in his races, training when he felt like it, and running erratically across the track.
At the time, Private Zone was trained by the brother of former jockey Rene Douglas—and the latter saw something in temperamental runner he knew could be harnessed under the right setting. Douglas purchased the smallish bay privately for his Good Friends partnership and, after losing his first eight starts in North American, Private Zone went on to become a four-time grade 1 winner with his first breakthrough coming in the 2013 Vosburgh Invitational Stakes (G1).
Trained initially by Doug O'Neill stateside, Private Zone was also conditioned by Alfredo Velazquez, Jorge Navarro, and Brian Lynch. He defended his Vosburgh victory in 2014 and captured that year's Cigar Mile Handicap (G1) before adding another top-level triumph the following season in the Priority One Jets Forego Stakes (G1).
Private Zone, bred in Ontario by Adena Springs out of the unraced Siphon mare Auburn Beauty, was a $15,000 purchase by Douglas K. Rogelio from Adena's consignment to the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale. He retires with a 10-9-3 record from 33 starts and $2,924,620 in earnings. He was an Eclipse Award finalist for champion male sprinter in 2014 and 2015, finishing third in the 2014 Xpressbet Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita Park and second in the 2015 TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) at Keeneland.