Desperately Seeking Far From Over and Khozan

November 22, 2015 02:10am

What a year it was for the three-year-olds -- or at least one sophomore colt in particular. By becoming the first horse to sweep the Triple Crown in nearly four decades, American Pharoah accomplished what we all began to think might never be done again. While racing’s newest legend stayed healthy and became immortal, the fickle hands of fate were not so kind to other talented young colts. It may seem like a long time ago, but it was in fact in 2015 when a pair of talented three-year-olds from the Todd Pletcher barn dazzled with potential.

The date was February 7, and while Shared Belief was getting the best of California Chrome at beautiful Santa Anita Park, the conditions at Aqueduct were in stark contrast for the Grade 3 Withers Stakes. Bred to run to the moon and back, Far From Over, an undefeated son Blame, and the A.P. Indy mare, Alchemist, arrived to his initial stakes attempt with benefit of only one start. His situation only became that much more difficult when he came stumbling out of the starting gate in the 1 1/16 mile test on the inner track. In fact, for much of the race, his task seemed no better than hopeless.

Electrifying. You can see why so many were excited to see much more from Far From Over. With this much talent and fortitude demonstrated in only his second career start, and bred to the hilt, including inbreeding to the great producer Courtly Dee, only the sky seemed to be his limit. Of course, we all know what can happen in thoroughbred horse racing, and so it was for the Black Rock Thoroughbreds runner. A fracture was discovered while preparing for the Wood Memorial, and Far From Over was no longer Pointing for Louisville.

While we will never know what would have happened down the Kentucky Derby trail and beyond for a healthy Far From Over, it is easy to imagine big things off of his big performance in the Withers. In hindsight, the performance only looks better today considering that each of the four horses closest to him at the finish; El Kabeir, Classy Class, Tencendur, and March, all came back to do good things after the Withers. Still, though, as Shared Belief and Honor Code proved the last two years, missing the Triple Crown does not mean the end of your career. Rehabbing at WinStar Farm, Far From Over is pointing for a four-year-old campaign in 2016.  

Far From Over is not the only Todd Pletcher trained, undefeated, and highly regarded colt to be rehabbing at WinStar, with designs on a triumphant return to the races as a four-year-old. The same could be said for Khozan.

Unlike Far From Over, Khozan has never faced solid graded stakes horses. Nor has he ever overcame the type of obstacle that test the heart of the thoroughbred. That is where the differences end, though, as Khozan is also perfect in two starts for his career, has not been seen since February, and is off the charts on the potential scale.

The word was out on Khozan long before his first lifetime race. Despite drawing the 14-hole in his career debut, the regally bred son of Distorted Humor and Delta Princess was sent off as the 9-5 choice in a maiden race at Gulfstream Park in January. First time starters do not win from the 14 post, but this one did, and he did it in style. Royal Delta’s little half brother won by nearly four lengths for trainer Todd Pletcher. It seemed like his $1 million price tag as a two-year-old in training the previous March was money well spent.

Four weeks later, the Al Shaqab Racing Derby hope came back in a one-mile allowance race, also at Gulfstream Park. America’s biggest buzz horse was hammered down to 1-20 odds for his second career start, and his opposition could only watch, as the talented colt won the way 1-20 shots should.

A date in the Florida Derby beckoned, but was ultimately not to be, as Khozan also was bitten by the injury bug.

Gone but not forgotten, and both rehabbing at WinStar Farm, I for one cannot wait for the return of these two talented colts, soon to be four. Yet another reason why to get excited about what we might see in the 2016 racing season.


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Meet Brian Zipse

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. His new racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing show, HorseCenter and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as hosting HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

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