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Private Zone Seeks First U.S. Win

Private Zone usually outruns his odds. In six starts since coming to the U.S. from Panama, the son of Macho Uno bred in Ontario by Frank Stronach’s Eclipse Award-winning Adena Springs has never failed to earn a check, although he has yet to win.

Trainer Doug O’Neill is confident the 4-year-old bay gelding can end that drought Saturday when he runs in the Grade II Palos Verdes Stakes for 4-year-olds and up at six furlongs. Private Zone has finished second in his last three starts, all stakes, beaten less than a length and a half each time.

“This is a horse Rene Douglas manages and he does a brilliant job,” O’Neill said, speaking of the former jockey who was paralyzed from the waist down in a spill at Arlington Park in May of 2009.

Pedroza and Douglas, both natives of Panama, grew up together in their native country and went to jockey school there. They have remained best of friends. “We talk about every other day,” Pedroza said. “He’s in good spirits.”

“Martin works Private Zone and he’s done a good job getting him to mature,” O’Neill said. “We’re very excited about the horse. I think he’s going to run a big race on Saturday.”

The field for the Palos Verdes, race five of nine: Apriority, Julien Leparoux, 8-1; Drill, Martin Garcia, 4-1; Canonize, Jose Valdivia Jr., 5-1; Sahara Sky, Joe Talamo, 12-1; Comma to the Top, Edwin Maldonado, 3-1; Private Zone, Martin Pedroza, 5-2; and Justin Phillip, Rafael Bejarano, 7-2.



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