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Preger-developed King Zachary scores upset in Matt Winn Stakes

Posted: June 18, 2018 3:12 p.m.
Updated: June 19, 2018 1:00 a.m.

King Zachary, a 3-year-old developed at the barn of Mickey Preger Jr. at the Camden Training Center,comfortably beat stablemate Tiz Mischief by 4 ¾ lengths giving Churchill Downs’ all-time leader trainer Dale Romans a 1-2 finish in Saturday’s night’s 21st running of the $100,000 Matt Winn (Grade III) for 3-year-olds.

Odds-on 1-2 favorite Ax Man, from the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, came up empty at the top of the stretch and faded to a distant third.

Owned by longtime Preger client Tom Conaway, who had Preger choose the horse for him in the sales ring, King Zachary tracked pacesetters Tiz Mischief and Ax Man, who led the field of six through comfortable quarter-mile fractions of :24.55, :48.09 and 1:12.15. Midway around the final turn, rider Robby Albarado swung King Zachary three wide and drove past the leaders under a brisk drive to clock 1 1/16 miles over a fast track and collect his first stakes win.

“This horse keeps getting better with each start. I can’t thank Dale and Mr. Conway enough for letting me ride this horse,” Albarao said following the race. “I think we are setting ourselves up for a big year with this horse. 

“Dale gave me a lot of confidence this week. When Corey went to the lead with Tiz Mischief I just settled and sat right off the pace. It worked perfectly.”

“What a race,” Romans said. “King Zachary just keeps getting better every time we see him. I was confident entering the race that he’d run a big effort. I know Ax Man was the horse to beat but was confident with my horses. Tiz Mischief was a real surprise. He proved himself tonight that he can compete with some of the best 3-year-olds in the country.”

The victory was worth $61,380 and boosted King Zachary’s bankroll to $172,650 with a record of 6-3-0-2. He was sixth in the $1 million Wood Memorial at Aqueduct in April. King Zachary is a Kentucky-bred son of Curlin out of the Giant’s Causeway mare On My Way. He was bred by Waymore LLC.

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