Louisville, KY (SportsNetwork.com) – Private Zone, the 5-2 second choice,
shook loose down the stretch in winning Saturday’s $500,000 Churchill Downs
Stakes as Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern finished last.
Bayern was the 4-5 favorite for his 2015 debut race with his regular rider
Martin Garcia in the saddle. The 4-year-old colt was racing just off the pace
being set by Private Zone and Nates Mineshaft in the six-horse field going
Private Zone and Nates Mineshaft were on even terms coming off the final turn.
Bayern was still fourth along the rail but quickly faded.
“He felt really good, he broke really sharp,” Garcia about Bayern. “He didn’t
have the kick that he usually does. He was done at the half mile. He didn’t
handle the track at all, he didn’t like it.”
Nates Mineshaft took a short lead over Private Zone at the top of the stretch
but was unable to hold it. Private Zone, ridden by Martin Pedroza, retook the
lead in mid-stretch and went on to post a 4 1/4-length win over Nates
“When that horse went by me (Nates Mineshaft),” Pedroza said, “I didn’t get
nervous. I just let my horse do what he does, and I knew he’d be game. Then I
hit him left handed and it was all over. He’s just so tough.”
Pants On Fire finished third followed by Gentlemen’s Bet, C. Zee and Bayern.
Brewing was scratched.
The time for the seven furlongs was 1:22.54 on a fast track.
Private Zone, trained by Jorge Navarro for Good Friends Stable, earned
$282,100 from his first win of the season. The 6-year-old gelding has eight
wins and eight seconds from 27 lifetime starts for $1,863,320.
“I am so happy to win this race for my good friend (former jockey) Renee
Douglas (stable manager for Good Friends Stable),” Pedroza ecalimed. “I am
blessed that I am healthy and doing well and I can win a race like this for
him. I’m 48, but I feel like I’m 21. This is some horse.”
Private Zone opened 2015 with a runner-up finish to Honor Code in the
Gulfstream Park Handicap on March 7. He is a two-time winner of the Vosburgh
Invitational at Belmont Park and won last year’s Cigar Mile at Aqueduct.
Private Zone paid $7.40, $4.40 and $3.00. Nates Mineshaft returned $19.80 and
$6.20, and Pants On Fire paid $2.80 to show.