Munnings’ Zozos Wins First Stakes in Knicks Go
A runner in last year’s Grade I Kentucky Derby, Zozos (4c Munnings x Papa’s Forest, by Forestry) returned to that race’s undercard on Saturday to earn a stakes victory in the Knicks Go Overnight Stakes.
The Brad Cox trainee was third fastest out of the gate but quickly took over the lead in the one-mile dirt race and kept command from that point on. Left on his own down the backstretch, Zozos was confronted by a pair of horses around the turn with one getting close enough to look him in the eye as they turned into the stretch.
That was all the motivation Zozos needed to fully put his mind on the job and he regained a clear lead from there. In the end, that lead was cut down to three quarters of a length but the rest of the field as over five lengths behind the winner at the end.
“This has been one of the better races he has run,” Cox said. “I was a little concerned about cutting him back in distance to the one turn mile. He’s a great horse but I did tell Florent (Geroux) before the race ‘break very aggressive with intent’ because there were a lot of horses that looked like they wanted to do the same thing. Fortunately, he showed up and ran a great race.”
Zozos is a homebred runner for Barry and Joni Butzow and has won five of eight starts with a second-place finish in the Grade II Louisiana Derby as well.
He is out of a nine-time winning half-sister to the Grade III placed Down With Dixie. The family also includes Grade I winner Celestine and Grade II winner and Grade I placed Diamond on the Run.
The four-year-old is the seventh stakes winner of the year for Munnings, putting him fourth among all Northern Hemisphere sires with his 13 stakes performers fifth best as well.