Todd Pletcher unveiled another potential star at Gulfstream Park in a six furlong maiden race on Friday, March 15. The exceptionally well bred Zaikov broke fourth and sat one length behind Trinni Heart in second until John Velazquez unleashed the pretty gray colt nearing the half mile pole. Zaikov lengthened stride and drew off to a 14 ¼ length win in a final time of 1:09.78 for six furlongs. Trinni Heart held on for second a length ahead of Regiment who overcame a poor start to finish third. Watch the race here.
Bred and owned by Arindel Farm, ZAIKOV (Distorted Humor - Wait a While, by Maria's Mon) has the pedigree of a Classic contender. His sire Distorted Humor, is a son of Juvenile Champ and Travers hero Forty Niner, out of a graded stakes winning Danzig mare. On the racetrack, the Chestnut stallion was a multiple graded sprinter/miler.
Like many good milers, Distorted Humor gets a combination of speed and stamina oriented offspring who are proficient over multiple surfaces. He has sired over 100 stakes winners, among them are Kentucky Derby hero Funny Cide, Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer, Travers Stakes winner Flower Alley (who sired Kentucky Derby/Preakness winner I'll Have Another) and the multiple Grade 1 winner and track record setter Commentator.
DISTORTED HUMOR (Forty Niner - Danzig's Beauty, by Danzig)
Race record: 23-8-5-3 ($769,964)
1st - Churchill Downs Handicap (G-2) 7F
1st - Commonwealth Breeders' Cup Stakes (G-2) 7F
1st - Salvator Mile Handicap (G-3)
1st - Ack Ack Handicap (G-3) 7 ½ F
2nd - Fayette Stakes (G-2) 1 1/8 miles
2nd - Kentucky Cup Classic (G-3) 1 1/8 miles
2nd – Jerome Handicap (G-2) 1 mile
3rd - Cigar Mile (G-1)
Zaikov is the highly anticipated first foal out of 2006 Champion Three Year Old Filly Wait a While. Proficient over dirt and turf, the pretty gray mare racked up ten graded stakes wins during her four year career, including the American Oaks Invitational and back-to-back editions of the Yellow Ribbon Stakes. Both are Grade 1 events contested at 1 ¼ miles. Zaikov's two year old half sister Wait No More (by Medaglia D'Oro) was the $1.175 sales topper at last year's Fasig Tipton Saratoga Yearling Select Sale. Wait a While also bore a yearling full sibling to Zaikov and has a brand new Smart Strike colt.
Wait a While is the only black-type winner produced by her dam Flirtatious (by A.P. Indy). Zaikov's third dam Grand Charmer (by Lord Avie) was a Grade 3 winner and a half sister to Private Feeling (by Belong To Me). You may recall Private Feeling as the dam of Preakness Stakes hero Lookin At Lucky and his multiple graded stakes winning half brother Kensei. Zaikov is a member of the Lowe 9-f female family. Other notable members of this line include 1976 Kentucky Derby/Belmont Stakes winner Bold Forbes, 1924 Preakness heroine Nellie Morse and Belmont Stakes victors Bet Twice, Creme Fraiche and Coastal.
WAIT A WHILE (Maria's Mon - Flirtatious, by A.P. Indy)
Race record: 24-12-3-4 ($2,181,917)
1st - Yellow Ribbon Stakes (G-1) 1 ¼ miles (T)
1st - American Oaks Invitational (G-1) 1 ¼ miles (T)
1st - Ballston Spa Handicap (G-2) 1 1/16 miles (T)
1st - San Gorgonio Handicap (G-2) 1 1/8 miles (T)
1st - Lake Placid Stakes (G-2) 1 1/8 miles (T)
1st - Davona Dale Stakes (G-2) 1 mile
2nd - Ashland Stakes (G-1) 1 1/6 miles
2nd - Matriarch Stakes (G-1) 1 mile (T)
3rd - Kentucky Oaks (G-1) 1 1/8 miles
Zaikov's damsire Maria's Mon owned a combination of speed and stamina. He was crowned Champion Two Year Old of 1995 after victories in the Sanford, Belmont Futurity and Champagne Stakes. After an abbreviated career at three, the son of Caro was retired due to a broken ankle. Noted for siring long-winded offspring, Maria's Mon is one of the few modern stallions to have sired two Kentucky Derby winners. His son Monarchos set the second-fastest winning Derby time in 2001 and Maria's Mon's son Super Saver won the Derby in 2010. Maria's Mon a fairly young broodmare sire. His daughters have bore 24 stakes winners, including Caracortado, a multiple graded stakes winner over dirt and turf, Sorento Stakes winner Mighty Caroline, and Bayakoa Handicap heroine Lady of Fifty.
Zaikov's second damsire A.P. Indy is an Intermediate/Classic chef-de-race and imparts more stamina to the gray colt's pedigree.
Distorted Humor has sired three foals out of Maria's Mon broodmares. Two have started and one is listed stakes placed. Zaikov has no inbreeding through the first five generations of his pedigree.
MARIA'S MON (Wavering Monarch - Carlotta Maria, by Caro (IRE))
Race record: 7-4-1-1 ($507,140)
1st - Champagne Stakes (G-1) 1 1/16 miles
1st - Belmont Futurity (G-1) 1 mile
1st - Sanford Stakes (G-3) 6F
3rd - Hopeful Stakes (G-1) 7F
Zaikov resembles his dam not only in looks, but he also has her smooth, long reaching gait. He has slightly high knee action, but this isn't a detriment. Zaikov has the body and pedigree of a route horse.
With only an impressive six furlong victory against maidens under his girth, it could be tough for Zaikov to earn the seasoning and points necessary to compete in the Kentucky Derby. He would have to jump immediately into graded stakes company going 1 1/8 miles to qualify for this year's Derby, which is a tough task for any young horse, no matter how talented. With his pedigree, Zaikov would be a good candidate for the Belmont Stakes, Haskell, Jim Dandy and/or Travers Stakes later this summer. No mater where he shows up next, Zaikov is a colt to keep on your watch list.