In a thrilling renewal of the $500,000 Ohio Derby on June 20, winner Mr. Z (Malibu Moon) and runner-up Tencendur (Warrior’s Reward) were separated by just a nose at the finish of the 1 1/16-mile contest for 3-year-olds.
Mr. Z is Malibu Moon’s leading earner of 2015 and has helped put the Spendthrift stallion into seventh on this year’s North American General Sire list with over $4.4 million in progeny earnings.
Likewise, Tencendur is the leading runner by Warrior’s Reward, who ranks seventh on the Second-crop Sire list with nearly $1.3 million in progeny earnings. Tencendur was also runner-up in this year’s $1 million Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. Warrior's Reward is standing the 2015 southern hemisphere season at Spendthrift Australia for $11,000 live foal or $13,750 for the Share the Upside program.
The Ohio Derby drew a solid field of eight 3-year-olds at Thistledown in northern Ohio. Mr. Z went right to the front, with Tencendur about a length behind. After a six furlongs in 1:11.66, Mr. Z had Divining Rod alongside. Tencendur, who had dropped back on the turn, re-rallied in the stretch and a trio of horses hit the wire together, with Mr. Z a nose better than Tencendur, while Divining Rod was a head back in third (VIDEO).
"It wasn't a wasted plane flight today, was it?" said jockey Joe Bravo, who flew in to ride Mr. Z for the first time. "(At the) [t]op of the lane, the horses come to each side of this horse. He could have got beat today, but he just put his ears back and said 'Come on, jock, we're going to win today.'”
With seven graded stakes placings and his $300,000 Ohio Derby payday, Mr. Z is less than $3,000 from being a millionaire. Bred in Kentucky by Richard D. Maynard out of the Storm Cat mare Stormy Bear, Mr. Z sold for $135,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky 2013 fall yearling sale when selected for Zayat Stables by Patrice Miller/EQB. Zayat campaigned the colt up through his unplaced Kentucky Derby (G1) effort, when he was sold to Calumet Farm while remaining in the care of Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas.
Tencendur, who is owned by his breeder Philip Birsh, has now earned $353,500. The colt is a half-brother to six-time stakes winner Mother Russia.