BALTIMORE (AP) — Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas sat outside the Pimlico stakes barn Wednesday morning, wondering if Mr. Z would run in the Preakness on Saturday.
After a sale that Lukas helped engineer, Mr. Z joined the Preakness lineup several hours later. He will run for Brad Kelly’s Calumet Farms following the purchase for an undisclosed amount from Ahmed Zayat.
Lukas brokered the deal, assuring himself a shot at a record-tying seventh Preakness victory.
“They are faxing back and forth and getting documents signed,” Lukas said, confirming the sale. “There was dialogue going on, and I was in the middle of it. It just kind of happened. Mr. Kelly is that way, and so is Mr. Zayat. They are very smart businessmen. They don’t have trouble making up their minds. I don’t think they ever talked. It was through me, back and forth.”
Zayat also owns Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah.
While the ownership changed, Mr. Z remains with Lukas, who won the 2013 Preakness for Calumet with Oxbow.
Mr. Z, it should be pointed out, has one win in 13 career starts. He was 13th in the Derby.
The day started with the Preakness decision resting with Zayat, unenthusiastic about running Mr. Z since he already had Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah in the race.
“There are so many things involved in making the decision on this horse,” Lukas said before the deal.
And then the deal went down, sparing Lukas from watching the Preakness parade pass him by.
“It would have been disappointing not to run because I think my horse is awfully good right now,” Lukas said.
Lukas is dismissing the colt’s Derby effort.
“He got nothing out of it,” Lukas said. “It was a throw-out race. He was lucky not to clip heels and go down. That was a tough situation.”
LOCAL HERO: Bodhisattva is the only horse to take the Maryland road to the Preakness, running in four local stakes over the winter and spring.
The colt, named for a Buddhist term meaning “enlightened one,” is owned and trained at Laurel by former jockey Jose Corrales. Bodhisattva earned his way into the Preakness with his first stakes victory, a 1 1/2-length win in the Federico Tesio last month at Pimlico.
It’s the first Triple Crown race for Corrales as a trainer or rider. He knows the colt is an outsider, allowing for a low-key approach.
“This is like a dream,” Corrales said. “It’s like a lottery ticket and we’ll see what happens. It gives you motivation because you’re running against the best horses. I’m already down at the bottom. The only thing I can do from here is improve.”
(Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)