Private Zone and Trinniberg are set to go hoof-to-hoof in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita overnight for the first time since the pair blew out in the Dubai Golden Shaheen.
With 400 metres to run of the Golden Shaheen at Meydan Racecourse in March the two sprinters were duelling at the head of the field, only to burn out and be overwhelmed by Reynaldothewizard.
Since then, the stock of Trinniberg, the defending Sprint champion, has declined and the bay colt was tailed off in last in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes a month ago.
By contrast, Private Zone’s has risen and the formerly wayward four-year-old gelding starts as favourite, having shown a determined attitude to beat tonight’s rival Justin Phillip by a neck in the Grade 1 Vosburgh Invitational in September.
Private Zone is owned in syndicate by the Good Friends Stable, headed by Rene Douglas, the former jockey.
Douglas said before Private Zone’s Golden Shaheen run that he hoped to walk if the thoroughbred that is his pride and joy won. Fellow syndicate owner Denis Savard, however, was simply thankful that Private Zone is taking part in California with a realistic shot at glory.
“Rene has suffered so much in the last few years,” the former NHL hall of fame player told NHL.com. “If that particular minute and a half and the whole day and whole weekend will take some of the pain away that he suffered, that would mean a lot to all of us.”
Private Zone and Trinniberg represent a bumper cast list of former equine Meydan stars, such as Game On Dude in the Classic, but it is The Fugue, the favourite for the Breeders’ Cup Turf, who may represent the future.
The Fugue is owned by Lord Lloyd-Webber, who also owned Dar Re Mi, third in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Turf, who subsequently won the Dubai Sheema Classic the following year. The Fugue is set to follow that path.