Derby & Oaks Runners Zozos and Hidden Connection Put a Winning Bow on their Sophomore Seasons


New Orleans, La (December 18, 2022) – The Barry Butzow & Joni Butzow homebred Zozos made his first start since the Kentucky Derby a successful one, winning a second-level allowance going 1 1/16 miles on Saturday at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. The lightly raced 3-year-old is trained by Brad Cox.

“I thought his race was really good yesterday,” Cox said Sunday morning. “He came out of it great. I think he’s a good colt. He showed us he is graded-stakes quality last year being on the Derby trail and finishing second to Epicenter here (in the Louisiana Derby).”

Settling nicely in fourth along the rail, Zozos tipped out to go 4-wide through the second turn and responded when asked by Corey Lanerie to pass the game front-running Treasury and pull away under a hand ride to win by 2 3/4 lengths over that foe.

“I’m thinking he won’t go directly into graded stakes company next time, but we’ll see what’s out there,” Cox said. “It would be nice to try him back in a 3-other-than (allowance) if the opportunity presents itself, but those races can be tough to fill. I’m thinking about graded stakes at some point, just not sure when we’ll get there. The plan is to have a horse all year, so there’s no rush.”

The son of Munnings scored a 94 Brisnet Speed figure. Cox said he will nominate Zozos to the older males stakes at Fair Grounds, the $150,000 Louisiana Stakes (G3) on Jan 21 and the $250,000 Mineshaft (G3) on Feb 18.

Hidden Brook Farm and Black Type Thoroughbreds’ Hidden Connection got her elusive first victory as a 3-year-old on Friday at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Winning her first two races as a juvenile in impressive fashion, including the Pocahontas (G3), Hidden Connection earned the high praise and high expectations of her trainer Bret Calhoun. Making her third and final start as a 2-year-old, she ran fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Facing second-level allowance company going 1 1/16 miles on Friday, Hidden Connection saved ground throughout most of the race. When asked by her pilot Rey Gutierrez, she burst through an opening and put 7 ¾ lengths between her and the field at the finish line.

“She came out of it great,” Calhoun said post race.

A nose shy to Echo Zulu in the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), the Connect filly has hinted at being one of the top fillies in her division, but after her twelfth-place finish in the Longines Kentucky Oaks and her lackluster effort prior to Friday’s win, she still needed to prove it. She earned a 91 Brisnet Speed figure on Friday, her highest to date.

Holiday Racing Schedule

Fair Grounds races live Monday, Dec. 19, is dark Tuesday & Wednesday (Dec. 20-21), races live Thursday & Friday (Dec. 22-23), is dark Saturday (Christmas Eve) & Sunday (Christmas Day) and races live Monday, Dec. 26 (“Road to the Derby Kickoff”, noon CT). All other post times are 1:15 p.m. CT.


About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of the nation’s oldest racetracks, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds, which is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN), also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 15 off-track betting parlors throughout Southeast Louisiana. The 151st Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 110th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from Nov 18, 2022 through March 26, 2023. More information is available online at

Horse Racing at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots