Brad Kelley's Calumet Farms has purchased hard knocking sophomore Mr. Z (Malibu Moon), previously campaigned by Zayat Stables, and will run him in Saturday's GI Preakness S., trainer D. Wayne Lukas reported. The chestnut will remain under the care of the Hall of Fame conditioner, who teamed up with Calumet to win the 2013 Preakness with Oxbow (Awesome Again).
“He is entered with Calumet,” Lukas said. “You always worry about any horse deal until it's chiseled in stone. We're dotting all the I's and crossing the T's. They have reached an agreement. I've been on the phone negotiating and doing the dialogue. I'm just the messenger in this case.”
Mr. Z, who finished 13th in the GI Kentucky Derby May 2, arrived at Pimlico Tuesday afternoon with five other Lukas-trained horses being aimed at Preakness weekend stakes.
“He's doing well,” the conditioner remarked. “I galloped him over the track this morning and he handled it really well.”
Calumet Farms holds the record for the most Preakness wins by an owner with seven, and Lukas is second in the trainer standings with six Preakness wins under his belt.
“I don't know that I pushed the sale,” Lukas said. “The sale just came through conversation and dialogue. Mr. Z is a pretty well-bred horse. He might be the best bred horse in the Preakness if you look at it real critically. Brad flat asked me, 'Would you run him,' and I said if I owned him, I'd run him.'”
Corey Nakatani, who piloted Mr. Z to a third-place finish in Oaklawn's GIII Southwest S. Feb. 22, gets back aboard Saturday.