BALTIMORE - Mr. Z the person sold Mr. Z the thoroughbred, who will run in Saturday's Preakness.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said on Wednesday that Ahmet Zayat had sold the horse his children named for him to Brad Kelley's Calumet Farm. Lukas, second all-time with six Preakness victories, said Corey Nakatani will ride. The colt, although 1-for-13 and on a 12-race losing streak, has four seconds and four thirds in stakes and earned $652,216. He drew post 3 in a field of eight and is 20-1 on the morning line.
Doing this deal was a challenge even for Lukas, a masterful salesman. "At 7:30 this morning, he wasn't going to be entered," he said. "By 9:30 we were dotting the I's and crossing the T's. We've got the bill of sale. It's done."
Mr. Z finished 13th May 2 in the Kentucky Derby that was won by Zayat's American Pharoah. Earlier this week, Zayat said he would not run Mr. Z in the Preakness because he didn't think he belonged and deserved a rest. Lukas disagreed and shipped him Tuesday from Churchill Downs to Pimlico, a sign something was brewing.
Lukas, 79, won the Preakness two years ago for Kelley with 15-1 shot Oxbow.
"Brad flat asked me, 'Would you run him?' and I said if I owned him, I'd run him," the old Wisconsin cowboy said. "I don't think Brad bought this horse just to run in the Preakness. I think he did it because he thought he's going to have a really nice horse."