Zaki finished in front of the I Am Thunderstruck in Australia’s two major races in March and April, but didn’t have much between them in a 1 1/8-mile opening bet for the Group 1 Underwood Stakes at Melbourne’s Sundown Racecourse on Saturday evening. in US time zones.
Zaki, who won 2021 Underwood, was 8-5 as of Friday, while I Am Thunderstruck was 2-1 in a strong field of six.
Both won significant bets earlier this month. Zaki, coached by Annabel Neesham, won her first start since the end of May in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes in seven furlongs at the Royal Randwick Racecourse on 3 September, leading the entire round.
A week later, I Am Thunderstruck won the Grade 1 Makibe Diva Stakes on a mile at Flemington Racecourse by a head over Alligator Blvd, which is part of the Underwood area. I Am Thunderstruck is coached in partnership with Mick Price and Michael Kent Jr.
Earlier this year, Zaki and I’m Thunderstruck finished first and second in the $3.69 million All-Star Mile at Flemington in March, and second in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick in April was in sixth place.
In between those races, the I Am Thunderstruck finished second in the Group 1 Doncaster Handicap by a mile at Randwick after Mr Brightside, who drew a field of 20. Mr Brightside has not lost since, winning two Group 2 races on seven furlongs and one mile since mid-August.
Mr Brightside was the third choice 9-2 in the opening bet for Underwood.
In addition to his race record, Zaki would be favored at $652,400 Underwood, based on his record of four wins in five starts over a 1 1/8 mile. Jamie Kahn, a rider to victory in the All-Star Mile, receives the mount from James McDonald, who is not riding Sunday.
It’s a new distance for I Am Thunderstruck, who never won beyond a mile. The Queen Elizabeth Stakes was his only start beyond a mile.
Underwood is part of a nine-race program at Sanddown that begins at 11 a.m. Eastern, or 8 p.m. Pacific. Bets are available through DRFBets.com.
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