Mr. Z
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Mr. Z
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Chad B. Harmon

Mr. Z Camp Still Undecided on Preakness

Was 13th-place finisher in Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

Whether Zayat Stables' Mr. Z  runs in the May 16 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) remains up in the air, with Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas lobbying for the colt to contest the race at Pimlico Race Course.

"No decision yet," owner Ahmed Zayat said of his 3-year-old son of Malibu Moon  who ran 13th in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) that was won by Zayat's American Pharoah .

Zayat said his son and Zayat Stables racing manager Justin Zayat does not want to run Mr. Z in the 1 3/16th-mile Preakness, preferring to give the colt a break to refresh. Mr. Z was the most experienced starter in the Derby, which was his 13th career start. Mr. Z has raced at least once a month since making his first start at Churchill Downs in June 2014, breaking his maiden in what remains his lone career victory.

"Coach (as Lukas is often called) is lobbying hard," Zayat said. "I agree with Justin (but) no final decision has been made.

Zayat and Lukas are both in agreement that Mr. Z, who has finished second or third in eight stakes, never had a chance to run in the Derby after having to check repeatedly in the run to the first turn.

"He had zero shot to run in the Derby," Zayat said. "He looks like a healthy and happy horse."

Meanwhile, the top three Derby finishers, all being aimed at the Preakness, are scheduled to return to the track at Churchill Downs over the next two days.

Derby runner-up Firing Line  will go back to the track Wednesday and American Pharoah and his stablemate, third-place finisher Dortmund , will be on the track for the first time Thursday.

"Everything is good here," Carlos Santamaria, assistant to trainer Simon Callaghan, said of Firing Line. "He is feeling good and he is a happy horse."