by favored Justin Phillip with less than 50 yards to run, California
shipper Private Zone fought back on the inside and survived a stewards'
inquiry into the finish to win the Grade 1, $400,000 Vosburgh
Invitational by a neck on Saturday at Belmont Park.
choice in a field of seven, Private Zone ran six furlongs on a fast
main track in 1:08.02 for his second straight win and just his third in
the last 15 starts.
by Doug O'Neill for Good Friends Stable, Private Zone paid $9.20 for a
$2 win bet and earned $240,000, pushing his career bankroll to $513,820
in 19 races.
horse has a tendency to do [wait on the lead], and it's a credit to
[jockey] Martin Pedroza for knowing the horse," said O'Neill's
assistant, Jack Sisterson. "Just the way he was traveling, it looked
like he could have opened up because he had a lot of horse. Justin
Phillip came and headed him and then passed him, and he dug down deep
and got the win."
riding at Belmont Park for the first time since finishing second with
Miss Iron Smoke in the 1991 Grade 1 Matron, and Private Zone had to wait
for an inquiry into the stretch run before the race was declared
it live, I didn't see anything and Martin didn't mention anything
coming back," Sisterson said. "I didn't think that anything was too
dramatic to take the horse down."
from the far outside, Private Zone sprung quickly from the gate and
Pedroza was able to get the 4-year-old Macho Uno gelding to the inside
and into a comfortable rhythm up front, leading through a rapid
quarter-mile in 22.62 seconds and a half in 44.86.
Phillip and Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez rated in midpack before
moving up on the leaders around the turn, and steadily gained on Private
Zone in the stretch, sticking a neck in front. Pedroza was able to find
another gear and Private Zone surged back to retake the lead and hit
the wire in front.
got off to a good, clean start, and that's what I was concerned about,"
said Pedroza. "He's very fast, and we just waited for the competition.
When I let him run, he gave me everything he had."
who guided Justin Phillip to win the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt at
Saratoga Race Course last month, felt the contact down the lane made a
difference in the finish.
think it was enough to beat me by a head," said Velazquez. "When he
touched my horse the first time, he lost his balance. The second time,
he knocked him completely off balance. Otherwise, I thought he ran a
Vosburgh was just the fourth start of the year for Private Zone and
second since finishing ninth in the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen on
March 30. In his return, he captured the Pirates Bounty stakes at Del
Mar on September 4, in similar front-running fashion.
he broke from the gate, I liked the way Martin took him over and got
him to the inside," Sisterson said. "This horse has got natural speed. I
wasn't too worried about the fractions. I know he can keep that speed
over the six furlongs."
Phillip, favored at 5-2, was a clear second, finishing 4 ½ lengths
ahead of another Grade 1 winner, Strapping Groom. Forty Tales, Bahamian
Squall, Candyman E and defending Vosburgh champion The Lumber Guy
completed the order of finish. Palace was scratched.