-Won the Ed Burke Futurity with Check Him Out in 2001
-Won the Golden State Derby in 2002 with Check Him Out
-Won the PCQHRA Breeders' Derby with Check Him Out in 2002
Being connected to successful two-year-olds is nothing new to the stable of longtime owner and breeder Zory Kuzyk. In the past twenty years, Zory has bred or raced many of the sport's standout juvenile runners such as Check Her Twice, Le Ritz, Check Him Out, Brookstone Bay, and Masters Call.
In Kuzyk's operation, everything starts with the breeding. Undoubtedly the outstanding set of broodmares that Zory owns has been a huge asset and an integral part of the success that she's had over the years. "I still own Check Her Twice," said Kuzyk. "She was a very fast mare in her day and has really benefited in her older age by being pampered at some of the more exceptional thoroughbred farms in Kentucky. She still looks great."
Check Her Twice won three races at two, including the Grade I Golden State Futurity and the Grade III California Sires' Cup Futurity, earning $137,801 in her freshman campaign alone. She has also proven to be a terrific producer as well, as some of her offspring include the stallion Check Him Out and the talented colt Masters Call, a winner of five out of his six lifetime starts. Check Him Out also had a dynamite juvenile campaign, winning the Grade I Ed Burke Memorial Futurity and qualifying to the PCQHRA Breeders' Futurity as well. The chestnut colt retired with nine wins from eighteen starts and earnings of $418,528.
Additionally, the colt's full-brother Masters Call has also shown a great deal of promise. A $485,000 sales topper from the 2006 Los Alamitos Equine Sale, Masters Call's late closing kick helped him score a victory in the $60,000 Los Alamitos Juvenile Invitational, wrapping up a strong two-year-old campaign for the horse. "He's had surgery in the off-season to remove a small ankle chip that he had," said Kuzyk. "From what I understand he is just about ready to come back and should have his first official work anytime now. He really showed a lot of talent last year. Unfortunately, he had this knack for running just fast enough to win each race and that prevented him from qualifying to some of the more prestigious stakes events."
Zory and her husband Volodar have run Kuzyk Law Offices since 1971, which keeps her extremely busy, but fortunately she still remains active in the sport of Quarter Horse racing. "I've been involved in the business ever since I moved to Green Valley in 1979," said Kuzyk. "I got out of it briefly for a couple of years, but then picked it up again seriously in 1982 or 1983. I have a ranch about twenty miles west of Lancaster, California, which is where my law office is located. It's nestled in a valley in the hills of the Angeles National Forest and is really a beautiful place."
Zory has three different two-year-old prospects that Los Alamitos fans can look forward to this season. First and foremost is the regally bred filly Gentle Autumn Rain, a full-sister to stallion Brookstone Bay, who Kuzyk also bred. Brookstone Bay, a Grade III winning son of First Down Dash, qualified to the 2004 Champion of Champions and finished his career with seven wins and $184,770 in earnings. Brookstone Bay is out of one of Zory's best broodmares, the recently deceased Le Ritz, a daughter of the thoroughbred stallion Coup De Kas. Le Ritz ran second in the 1993 Kindergarten Futurity and seemed to pass along her precociousness to the entire family, as several other colts out of this mare also shined at a very young age. Valors Gold, a son of First Down Dash out of Le Ritz, ran second in the Grade I Ruidoso Futurity at two and his full-brother Remarkably Ritzy also got off to a good start with a third-place finish in the Grade I PCQHRA Breeders' Futurity at Los Alamitos.
Gentle Autumn Rain hails from the same exact family as these three horses and could have the makings of another juvenile star. Recently, she ran in her very first race on Friday April 18th, finishing second behind the highly regarded Pure Hawkish Magic. "I thought she showed a lot of heart and desire to run as well as she did," said Kuzyk. "She really had a lot of traffic trouble in the race when the winner started to lug out. We're really pleased with her first start and if all goes well she should run next in the Kindergarten Futurity trials. I usually sell most of the horses that I breed, but I chose to keep Gentle Autum Rain because she's the last horse out of my mare Le Ritz. I wanted to keep part of her legacy for myself."
Another interesting two-year-old that Zory Kuzyk has is a chestnut colt named Twice As Grand by the thoroughbred sire Grand Slam. "Twice As Grand is out of my mare Check Her Twice. She has always seemed to have a great deal of success when bred to thoroughbred sires, so Grand Slam seemed like a nice fit for her. D. Wayne Lukas actually suggested this mating to me and I liked the idea right from the start. Plus, Check Her Twice is such a big mare that I always felt like her offspring would benefit from being bred to a stallion with a more slender build. Although the colt is paid into the Kindergarten Futurity trials, Twice As Grand probably won't start until later in the year when the distances get longer and a little more to his liking. He looks like the type that will need a lot of ground."
Finally, Kuzyk's last two-year-old is JL Special Chick, a nicely bred son of Chicks Beduino out of the stakes-winning mare First Special Dash, who racked up six wins lifetime and banked $162,860. "This horse is out of one of John Andreini's mares and I'm proud to be in a partnership with him on this gelding. We've been partners on a number of horses together in the past and it's always been a wonderful relationship. He's not paid into the Kindergarten trials, so we'll have to just wait and see where we'd like to run him."