LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Many Kentucky Derby fans from the Youngstown area were cheering for Bruce Zoldan’s 3-year-old colt named Visionaire to win the 134th run for the roses Saturday at Churchill Downs.
The reason: Zoldan is a Youngstown-area businessman-sportsman from Canfield Township and the the chief operating officer of Phantom Fireworks of Youngstown, and a part-owner of Visionaire, who ran from the No. 8 position at 12-1 odds under jockey Jose Lezcano.
And Visionaire, trained by Michael R. Matz — the trainer of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro — was Zoldan’s first entry in the Kentucky Derby.
Although Visionaire didn’t win — Big Brown bested the field by 43‚Ñ4 lengths — the colt did place a respectable 12th in the 20-horse field.
That performance gave Zoldan, who has interests in 15 thorougbred horses as a member of Team Valor International of Lexington, Ky., optimism for the future with Visionaire.
Visionaire stumbled at the start and raced with the pack, but did not kick in hard enough.
“I had a clean trip but he was in there in a bunch,” Lezcano said.
The respectable finish could help Visionaire’s owners cash in on stud fees.
There won’t be the typical spike in stud fees for the sire of Derby winner Big Brown, however. He has been retired from breeding.
Boundary, who has sired 21 stakes winners, lives at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky., where he previously stood as a stallion.
The horse raced for two years, winning six of eight lifetime starts. His career as a stallion included 11 crops, 421 foals, 323 starters and 244 winners.
By comparison, Big Brown’s dam, Mien, has produced just four foals, including two race winners.