After finishing third in the Kentucky Derby, Zandon will bypass the final two legs of the Triple Crown, skipping the Preakness and Belmont Stakes to point toward the Aug. 27 Travers Stakes in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
In a phone interview with the Star Tribune on Thursday, owner Jeff Drown of St. Cloud said his colt has been shipped to Belmont Park and "looks fantastic." Drown and trainer Chad Brown decided not to run in the May 21 Preakness because of the quick two-week turnaround after the Kentucky Derby. The connections of Derby winner Rich Strike also announced Thursday their horse will skip the Preakness, citing the short time between the races.
The $1.25 million Travers, known as the "Midsummer Derby," is the centerpiece of Saratoga Race Course's prestigious summer season. Zandon will race again before the Travers, though Drown said the horse's schedule hasn't been determined.
"If he had won the Derby, we'd be talking about the Preakness," Drown said. "But we didn't, so we'll make another decision.
"We love this horse a lot, and we think being very patient is the right decision. He's at Belmont now, and he's a happy horse. We'll just give him the time to hopefully do well in the other [races].''
Rich Strike pulled a mammoth upset in last Saturday's Kentucky Derby. It appeared either Zandon or Epicenter would win as the two horses battled down the stretch, until Rich Strike surged through on the inside to win at 80-1 odds.
Zandon earned $300,000 for his third-place finish, boosting his career earnings to $1,013,000. He has not finished out of the money in five lifetime starts.
Entries for the Preakness will be taken Monday at Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course. As of Thursday, Epicenter and Simplification — the fourth-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby —were confirmed, as was Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath. The connections of Early Voting, Un Ojo, Creative Minister and Skippylongstocking also said their horses would run in the Preakness.
Rich Strike's owner, Rick Dawson, said in a statement Thursday that his colt would point toward the Belmont Stakes on June 11.
Drown said he and his family enjoyed their first trip to the Kentucky Derby. They have high hopes for Zandon's future, including the 1 ¼-mile Travers, which will give the colt a rematch against other top 3-year-olds in another celebrated race.
"We didn't win the Derby, and that's disappointing," he said. "But we love this horse. We think there's a lot of upside. The best is yet to come."