BreederSummer Wind Farm
McKinzie, considered one of the leading contenders early in 2018 for a Triple Crown campaign, didn't get a chance to strut his stuff in any of those spring classics, but is hoping to make up for lost time in 2019. He ended up on the shelf after a hind leg injury last March, while his stablemate Justify went on to sweep all three races and became the 13th winner of the Triple Crown and the second for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who also won one of the most elusive prizes in all of sports with American Pharoah in 2015. McKinzie, a 4-year-old son of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, started off this year with a couple of very narrow losses, running second in the Feb. 2 San Pasqual Stakes (G2) and April 6 Santa Anita Handicap presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino (G1). Then, the handsome bay dazzled in the Alysheba Stakes presented by Sentient Jet (G2) May 3 at Churchill Downs, bursting through with a four-wide move for his first win of 2019. McKinzie first showed a glimmer of this true promise when he won last fall's Pennsylvania Derby (G1) after the six-month hiatus and his trainer couldn't have been happier. "I always felt like he was the best 3-year-old, and then he got hurt and Justify picked it up," Baffert recalled. "He has come back with the time off and has responded really well. It was good to see him get back in the game. It was a pretty tall order to go 1 1/8 miles off that kind of layoff. But, you can do it with good horses. If you had asked me on January 1, I would have told you we were going to win the Kentucky Derby with (this) horse." McKinzie, who runs for owners Mike Pegram, Paul Weitman and Karl Watson, was named for Baffert’s longtime friend and Los Alamitos Race Course executive Brad McKinzie, who died of cancer in Aug. 2017.
- September 17, 2019
Little change for Week #15 in the latest Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings as Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman’s 4-year-old McKinzie holds onto the top spot with 287 votes, and maintains a solid lead over two-time Dubai World Cup (G1) winner, Thunder Snow (IRE), who has 183 votes in second place.
- September 11, 2019
This is the fourth of nine weekly news releases focusing on the horses and races leading to the 36th Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Friday, November 1 and Saturday, November 2 at Santa Anita.
- September 10, 2019
Coming off a very quiet week in the Classic Division, the latest Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings remain virtually the same as the results from last week’s poll. Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman’s 4-year-old McKinzie leads the Top Ten, with the next six positions staying intact from Sept. 3.