Khozan brought high expectations into his career debut at Gulfstream Park on January 24 and emerged from the convincing 3 ¾-length victory as a serious Kentucky Derby prospect.
By Distorted Humor, sire of 2003 Kentucky Derby winner and champion three-year-old Funny Cide, Khozan is out of the top mare Delta Princess, a daughter of A.P. Indy. That makes Khozan a half-brother to the outstanding Royal Delta, a three-time champion who earned more than $4.8 million from a 22-12-5-1 record; and Crown Queen, who registered her first Grade 1 victory when taking the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland in October 2014.
Khozan, who was bred in Kentucky by Adena Springs, passed through the sales ring twice, commanding $350,000 as a 2013 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga August yearling before being purchased by Al Shaqab Racing for $1 million the following spring at the Fasig-Tipton Florida March two-year-old sale.
Al Shaqab Racing, which is owned by Qatar’s Sheikh Joaan Al Thani, is starting to make an impact in the United States after tremendous success internationally in recent years. Khozan is under the care of leading trainer Todd Pletcher and was ridden by top jockey Javier Castellano.
Khozan displayed a dynamic turn of foot in his lone start, scoring at a tricky seven-furlong distance, and registered a terrific 103 BRIS Speed rating. The well-regarded colt was favored at 9-5.
He will be attempting to buck an historical trend if he makes the Kentucky Derby field – no unraced two-year-old has captured the first leg of the Triple Crown since Apollo in 1882.
A jump straight to stakes company remains an option, but Pletcher said he plans to run Khozan in an upcoming allowance before giving him a chance to make the Kentucky Derby field in one of the final major prep races.