Private Zone, Vosburgh, Belmont Park, 28th September 2013; Vosburgh, Belmont Park, 27th September 2014; Cigar Mile H'cap, Aqueduct, 29th November 2014
Trained by Doug O'Neill/Alfredo Velazquez, Sire: Macho Uno. Dam: Auburn Beauty
“Good” Friends doesn't seem to do justice to the bond of brotherhood in this stable. “Great” Friends would be more accurate for these owners: Hilton Gordon, Joe Casciato, former Chicago Blackhawks star Denis Savard, Dave Flanbaum, Larry Slavin, and former jockey Rene Douglas, who was paralyzed in a gruesome accident at Arlington Park on May 23, 2009.
It’s easy for Savard to remember the date. It’s his and his wife’s anniversary. They were in Las Vegas celebrating their anniversary when they received the call about Douglas’ accident, which left him paralyzed from the waist down.
Douglas, who has benefitted from the support of his wife Natalie, deeply appreciated the additional encouragement he received from his friends. With Douglas, they are an eclectic collection. “There’s a Frenchman; there’s a Panamanian, an Italian, a Jewish person. You’ve got them all,” Savard told Mike Spellman in a story in the Chicago Daily Herald last March.
The 46-year-old Douglas, who won more than 3,500 races in his career, is the Panamanian, born in Panama City. While watching racing in his native country on TV from his home in Florida a couple years ago, Douglas spotted two horses he thought he and his friends should buy. The first was Golden Moka. He won four of 11 starts and earned $331,102. The second one was Private Zone.