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.