Updated on 02/26/2015 11:56AM

Florida Derby next after Khozan crushes allowance foes

Barbara D. Livingston
Khozan, with Javier Castellano aboard, improves to 2 for 2 by winning an allowance by 12 3/4 lengths.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -  He has  yet to run in a stakes race or earn any qualifying points but Khozan continues to give every impression he’s a legitimate Kentucky Derby candidate after drawing off to a convincing 12 3/4-length victory over five totally overmatched allowance rivals in Sunday’s fifth race at Gulfstream Park.

Khozan, a son of Distorted Humor, earned a 103 Beyer Speed Figure winning his career debut by 3 3/4 lengths going seven furlongs here on Jan. 24. He handled the stretch to a mile with equal aplomb, taking some dirt in the process racing behind and inside horses during the early running before asserting his superiority and winning off by himself in 1:38.07. He earned a 90 Beyer for the effort. Jockey Javier Castellano did put Khozan ($2.10) under a mild drive approaching the wire even though at that point, the issue was no longer in doubt.

:: ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays

“It’s another very impressive performance. He couldn’t have run much better than that,” said Todd Pletcher, who trains Khozan for Al Shaqab Racing. “It was what we were hoping for; glad to see he got a little bit of an education today. He was behind horses a little bit, inside horses. He did some things he didn’t do in his first start. Because he drew so far out in his first start, we wanted to get a little dirt in his face today to see how he’d react, so Javier let him stay there a little bit and said he handled it well.”

Pletcher said the Grade 1 Florida Derby would likely be Khozan’s stakes debut and final Kentucky Derby prep.

“The logical next race would probably be the Florida Derby,” said Pletcher. “He’s 2 for 2 over the track, he’s run well over the track and trained well here. We’ll talk about it. The race would be his final Derby prep. History is against him, but maybe he’ll be the one who can overcome it.”

Pletcher said earlier in the day that the Florida Derby is also the next likely target for Itsaknockout, who won the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth following the disqualification of Upstart on Saturday.

Khozan’s victory was the seventh in as many starters Pletcher has run at the meet for Al Shaqab Racing, which paid $1 million to purchase the half-brother to champion Royal Delta at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton March sale.


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Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
I agree he wasn't very sound last year but I put a lot of that on his management and giving him far too much too soon. If there's any trainer who can keep this horse sound and racing it's Chad Brown.
Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
For any of his fans still out there Social Inclusion is back on the worktab and in the hands of a competent trainer, finally. Hoping Chad Brown can bring out the best in him!
Brad Cohen More than 1 year ago
This monster wins by 12 3/4 lengths on an easy hand-ride and many are concerned about time? Would you be impressed if he would have run the final time of 1:36 and won by 24 lengths? Take an extra look at the breeding, including the grand=sire, and you will see why someone paid $1 million for him at Fasig-Tipton sale. The "not raced at two years old" theory since 1882 is similar to a coin landing on tails 40 consecutive times and not understanding the next flip is 50/50 for tails. Also, as Jack Van Berg always said "time is only of a concern to those in prison". I am on the Khozan bandwagon and enjoying the Futures Pool 2 final odds of 25 to 1. Next stop, the 9:5 favorite in the Florida Derby over some overrated and underperforming 3 year olds.
jim lefferts More than 1 year ago
Would you be impressed if he beat mules by 13? It's silly to suggest time doesn't matter. Fine. But beaten lengths without regard to his oppositions means far less.
B More than 1 year ago
No 2 year old starts, one maiden win, one allowance win, one stakes attempt and then the Kentucky Derby. Good luck with that!
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
Interesting comment. This article is about Khozan running next in the Florida Derby. Where do you think they should run him next then B? To use your phrasing.....Fresh horse, one maiden win, one allowance win, undefeated....next start Florida Derby. I don't know if the colt can win the Florida Derby or not, but it's the next logical step. Now let's say that he runs well in the Florida Derby and comes out of the race fit and healthy. ... well then, the next step would be Kentucky. Knowing Pletcher takes it one race at a time, he'll know if he thinks he can take that step or not. I personally think the Kentucky Derby winner is coming out of California. But, Khozan is the real deal. This I know.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Thanks for the reasonable take on Khozan. He's got a lot going for him; we shall see what TP does next - JG
Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
Well put.
Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
Sounds a lot like the resume of one Big Brown except that his maiden race was as a 2 year old and on turf. Other than that it's identical. How'd he fare in the KY Derby? And don't tell me that his easy race on turf as a 2 year old somehow gave him the foundation for the rigors of the Derby trial. He was a gifted animal and so is Khozan - except Khozan is far better bred.
Vince Piscitelli More than 1 year ago
Time only counts when you're in jail or when you're making whooppee. Vince P
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
Khozan is the real deal. It's always interesting to me to read comments about what time a horse ran a race in or their Beyer.....as if it ever means anything. Clearly this half brother to Royal Delta is a flat out monster. I just hope he stays healthy and runs in the Florida Derby. I actually believe he is better than Upstart and Itsaknockout....but, what's cool is if he goes in the Florida Derby we will all find out. As for Upstart being disqualified, I truly believe it was a horrible call. I didn't bet Upstart, but, he was going to win anyway and it didn't affect the order of finish, so I think he should have stayed up....but, that's just me. No matter what, I think we can all agree the more healthy 3 year olds in the gate for the Florida Derby the better the odds are on which to bet on.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
I agree; Upstart got robbed - JG
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Okay, so far Khozans is 2 for 2. This is good. MSP winner and to follow up with a nw1ot victory. They way it should be. Now , he goes into deeper water and tries much tougher and will need his best to date to beat Upstart. Khozan will probably be the betting favorite in the Florida Derby and I believe a lot of money will be stolen or should I say , people given there money away to the tellers at the window. Khozan cant beat Upstart on even terms.
Brad Cohen More than 1 year ago
Khozan's allowance win Sunday 2/22 would have easily bested all on Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes. This monster will win Florida Derby at 9:5 and will easily win KY Derby at 3:1. I have a feeling Mr. Watchmaker or Mr. Welsch will like this horse big time, regardless of non-racing as a 2 year old.
Mike More than 1 year ago
Two turns is different than going 1 turn and saving every bit of ground. There was also a strong pace in the FOY Stakes. Khozan has NO shot in the Derby.
Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
At this point I have to agree with you. Have yet to see a more talented, better bred animal in this group of 3 year olds. A whole lot can change in 2 months, however.
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Brad...., stop ! .....Please.....
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
Petcher should stay in the friendly confines of Florida where they will disqualify anybody that so much as breathes on his horses. outside of Florida and NY he doesn't have as much juice so to speak.
m More than 1 year ago
so what you're saying is Upstart should have stayed UP. tough call...he did impede another horses path. that's a fact.
Shawn Kennedy More than 1 year ago
His Beyer was 90 for this race- the 103 was for his debut at 7 furlongs, just as the 2nd paragraph states.