Eden Prairie residents Barry and Joni Butzow’s horse Zozos finished 10th in last weekend’s Kentucky Derby – after spending part of the race running in third and fourth place positions.
Assigned a post position (placement in the starting gate) of 19 out of the field of 20 three-year-old horses in the week before the race, Zozos’s starting position was just ahead of the eventual winner, Rich Strike. Given a post position of number 20 and entered into the race the day before the Derby as a replacement for scratched horse Ethereal Road, Rich Strike seemed to come out of nowhere in the last moments of the race to win at 80-1 odds, the longest shot since 1913 winner Donerail.
The Butzows were watching the race from the box next to the owners of Rich Strike and witnessed their stunned reaction at that horse’s win.
As for their own horse, “He ran great for a mile,” in the 1-1/4 mile race, Barry Butzow said. “He had his name called a whole bunch of times early in the race.”
More importantly, though, Butzow said, was having 40 family members and friends there to experience the race with them. This included the people who raised and trained the horse on farms in Kentucky and Florida. “Everybody important to us was there,” Butzow said.
What’s next for the horse? A bit of rest. Zozos will not run at the May 21 Preakness, another well-known horse race and the second in the series that establishes a Triple Crown winner. “He ran hard for four races,” Butzow said. (The points Zozos earned in his first three competitive races are what qualified him for the Kentucky Derby.)
Now, “We’ll turn him out for a while,” Butzow said. While it’s possible Zozos might come back for some races this fall, “More importantly, I think he’s going to be really great as a four-year-old,” Butzow said.