Saturday, September 27, 2014

Private Zone repeats in G1 Vosburgh

The New York Racing Association, Inc.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Private Zone repeats in G1 Vosburgh


By Jon Forbes


ELMONT, N.Y. - In a virtual repeat of last year's race, Private Zone lost the lead in the stretch but came back along the inside to win the Grade 1, $400,000 Vosburgh for sprinters 3-years-old and up on TVG Super Saturday at Belmont Park.


Making his second start of the year and first for trainer Alfredo Velazquez, Private Zone was away well under jockey Martin Pedroza in the six-furlong race before conceding the top spot to Happy My Way, who led through an opening quarter-mile in 22.42 seconds. Private Zone drew on even terms with Happy My Way on the far turn and was in front by a length through a half in 44.81 seconds.


Private Zone led coming into the stretch but was headed by Dads Caps inside the eighth pole. Pedroza switched his whip to his left hand, and Private Zone found more and got up to win by a neck. Palace, the 7-5 favorite, finished 1 ¾ lengths behind the winner in third and was a neck in front of fourth-place finisher Salutos Amigos.


The final time for six furlongs was 1:08.95. Private Zone, the 5-1 co-fourth choice in the field of eight, returned $13.80 for a $2 win wager.


In the 2013 Vosburgh, Private Zone won by the same margin after being passed by Justin Phillip.


"He's a warrior," said Pedroza. "He's a great competitor. He doesn't like to get beat. Once he looks a horse in the eyeball he just gains confidence. I haven't been on a horse as game as this horse in 30 years.''


Private Zone, a 5-year-old gelding who was previously trained by Doug O'Neill, had finished fourth in the Grade 3 Turf Monster Handicap, his grass debut, on September 1 at Parx Racing.


With his Vosburgh score, Private Zone gave Velazquez his first Grade 1 victory in a 31-year career.


The Vosburgh is a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" race in the Sprint division. Private Zone will now target the Sprint on November 1 at Santa Anita, with a decision on whether he'll remain with Velazquez or be returned to O'Neill to be made later.


Private Zone is owned by Good Friends Stable, a partnership which includes former jockey Rene Douglas. Private Zone began his career in Panama before he was purchased and sent to the United States upon Douglas' advice.


"They didn't want to ship [Private Zone] back to California [after he ran at Parx Racing]," said Velazquez. "I've trained for some of [the owners] before and Rene Douglas is the best friend I've got. They decided to leave the horse with me to run in this race. If he ran good, they were going to go back to the Breeders' Cup. I don't know if I'm going to keep him or if they're going to send him back to [Doug O'Neill]. He did a good job with the horse."


Private Zone, 6-7-1 in 23 starts, has earned $921,820, including $240,000 for his Vosburgh victory.


Coup de Grace, Happy My Way, Ribo Bobo, and Zee Bros completed the order of finish.



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