Flashy Debut for Royal Delta Half Brother

Al Shaqab Racing's million-dollar colt Khozan draws notice with dazzling maiden win.

Not to be missed in all of the stakes races Jan. 24 at Gulfstream Park was a dazzling debut win by Al Shaqab Racing's Khozan , a half brother to three-time Eclipse champion and two-time Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (gr. I) winner Royal Delta (VIDEO).

The 3-year-old son of Distorted Humor  out of the top producing A.P. Indy mare Delta Princess registered an eye-catching 3 3/4-length victory as the 19-10 favorite among 14 sophomores in Saturday's sixth race at seven furlongs on the main track.

Khozan was purchased with a $1 million winning bid at the Fasig-Tipton Florida 2-year-olds in training sale last March.

"We expected a good performance. He'd been training well. A horse like that with a big-time pedigree you have high hopes for," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "We felt positive coming into this race off his last few works, but you're always looking forward to getting them started and seeing how they can do."

Khozan had to break from the far outside post against 13 rivals, including highly regarded Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Wisecracker. The dark bay or brown colt was able to attain solid stalking position along the backstretch before making a sweeping move toward the leader under jockey Javier Castellano on the turn.

Wisecracker, a first-time starter ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., got the jump on Khozan, but the winner overcame all with a powerful run in the stretch to draw off to a most promising maiden victory. Khozan ran seven furlongs in 1:23.63.

"I think the logical move is to come back in an allowance race going longer and go from there," Pletcher said.

The 11-time defending Gulfstream training title winner said patience paid off with Khozan's thoroughly professional victory.

"He had some baby stuff at 2, and he has a pedigree that suggests he was going to get better as he got older. We just kind of took our time," Pletcher said. "Al Shaqab is very patient. They bought a nice horse and they were in no rush with him, so we just kind of waited until he told us he was ready. He showed us it was the right time after his last couple works. He showed up and ran up to expectations."

Does Pletcher think Khozan can play catch-up in time to make it to Louisville, Ky., on the first Saturday in May?

"It's Jan. 24 and he just made his first startthat would be against him a little bit," Pletcher said. "We'll let him guide us in the right direction."