Private Zone Among O'Neill's Cup Workers
Photo: Benoit Photo
Private Zone

Trainer Doug O'Neill had a big contingent of his Breeders' Cup hopefuls out for works on the morning of Oct. 25 at Santa Anita Park, led by Vosburgh Invitational Stakes (gr. I) winner Private Zone.

Others on the track for O'Neill were Goldencents (Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile), Bond Holder (Juvenile), Clenor (Juvenile Fillies Turf), Renee's Titan (Filly & Mare Sprint), and Concave (Juvenile Fillies).

Martin Pedroza, 48, a veteran jockey through three decades with more than 3,590 career wins, will get just his sixth Breeders' Cup mount aboard Private Zone in the $1.5 million Xpressbet Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I). His previous best was a third on Two Step Salsa in the 2008 Dirt Mile.

Private Zone had his final major drill for the BC Sprint Friday morning, going five furlongs with Pedroza up in 1:01 4/5.

"The horse was full of energy," said O'Neill. "The work was nice and easy. He left the track with a lot left in him, so he's doing great."

Private Zone, a son of Macho Uno   with five wins from 19 lifetime starts, is managed by former jockey Rene Douglas for owner Good Friends Stable. Douglas and Pedroza attended the same riding school in their native Panama and have been close friends since their early teens.

Douglas was paralyzed from the waist down in a riding accident at Arlington Park in 2009. While Pedroza remains in touch with Douglas almost daily, they will meet at the Nov. 1-2 Breeders' Cup in person for first time since last March, when Private Zone ran ninth in the Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored by Gulf News at Meydan Racecourse.

"I'm very excited to see my best friend," said Pedroza, who expects Douglas to arrive in California Oct. 30 from Florida. "I can't wait."

Private Zone gives Pedroza his best chance to register his first Breeders' Cup victory.

"I've got a helluva chance to win," Pedroza said unequivocally. "If I've ever had a chance, it's with this horse. I really do like my chances. The horse is getting better and better. The little time off they gave him after the Dubai race seems like it's made him a different horse."

O'Neill also sent of Goldencents, who went five furlongs in :58 2/5 Friday under Rafael Bejarano in advance of the Dirt Mile (gr. I).

"Goldencents actually ran into some (unexpected) company," O'Neill said. "He was trying to go by himself but some company was in front of him and he caught them. He went a little quicker than we wanted, but he did it real easy and he's spot-on, ready to go."

FrontRunner Stakes (gr. I) winner Bond Holder also worked five furlongs, going in 1:03 4/5 in his final major work for the Juvenile (gr. I).

"He's a solid horse," O'Neill said. "The first eighth of a work's going to make the final time, and they were just cruising early. He finished up good and galloped out strong and he's ready to go."

Clenor clocked a half mile in :48 2/5 for the Juvenile Fillies Turf, Renee's Titan was caught in 1:00 1/5 for five furlongs for the Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) and Concave accomplished five furlongs in :59 2/5 for the Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).

"The Breeders' Cup is a huge day for all of us in the business," O'Neill said. "There's only one Kentucky Derby (gr. I), but the great thing about the Breeders' Cup is there are more opportunities. A horse gets only one chance to run in the Derby and only 20 horses a year at most have a chance to get into the starting gate.

"The Breeders' Cup is much more spread out and your chances are greater to hit one out of the park. It's the Super Bowl and we're pumped up with some live chances."
 

Most Popular Stories