Bruce Zoldan of Boardman is an owner of Windward Passage, who was a finalist for the Kentucky Derby field.
By JOHN KOVACH
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Bruce Zoldan of Boardman owns a piece of a horse that almost made the field for the 128th Kentucky Derby.
Zoldan, president of B.J. Alan Fireworks Co. in Youngstown, was hoping to be cheering for his Windward Passage, who had a chance to be inserted into the Kentucky Derby field Wednesday when Mayakovsky pulled out.
Zoldan said Wednesday, before leaving for Louisville for the race, that Mayakovsky had a slim edge over Windward Passage in overall winnings for the year (about $107,000 to $100,000), which earned it the Kentucky Derby spot.
"But [Mayakovsky] hadn't run in several weeks, so they didn't think he was in shape to run," said Zoldan of Mayakovsky's withdrawal, which gave strong belief to Zoldan that Windward Passage would be chosen as a replacement.
In fact, a Kentucky Derby spokesman said Wednesday that it was highly likely that Windward Passage will be the replacement for Mayakovsky.
But when the post positions were announced later Wednesday afternoon, Windward Passage was not among the 20 horses in the field, postponing Zoldan's Kentucky Derby dream for perhaps another day.
Is with Team Valor
A horse lover, Zoldan became an investor in horses several years ago, and owns a piece of Windward Passage through Team Valor and its principals, Barry Irwin and Jeff Siegel, who both select the horses.
"I've been going to the Derby for many years. I'm not an addicted horse bettor. I am a lover of horses and the science of developing quality horses through bloodline and breeding," said Zoldan.
"I was fortunate to meet Barry Irwin about four or five years ago. He is the principal and director of Team Valor, which forms partnerships with people like myself who are racing enthusiasts."
Zoldan said Irwin "gathers investors from word of mouth [about] people capable of investing large amounts of money into quality race horses."
His first horse
Zoldan made his first investment several years ago. "My first horse was Golden Ballet. It was a very successful horse, one of the best fillies in the country," he pointed out.
Zoldan said he now "probably is involved in 10-12 horses," including two others he believes will run at Churchill Downs this week -- Cashier's Dream and Marching Orders.
"I've been told that each horse [in Team Valor] probably has 4-6 owners, not all the same [and] many like myself involved in quite a few," said Zoldan.
"We meet the various partners in each horse at the major races they are running. [Irwin] would invite all the partners out to that race and sit with the Team Valor group," said Zoldan, who had been hoping to do precisely that Saturday with his Windward Passage investors.
But his dream is on hold.