Journeyman Stud’s Khozan has ruled as the king of Florida stallions for four consecutive seasons. His streak began in 2020, when his first two crops rang up $3.49 million in progeny earnings. Last year, his runners earned more than $6.23 million, tops among active sires standing outside Kentucky. Two-and-a half months into 2024, Khozan remains well in front of his closest Florida-based competitors again, having already accumulated $1.2 million with the most lucrative part of the racing year yet to come.

Much was expected from Khozan from the day he drew his first breath. By that time, his Empire Maker half-sister, Royal Delta, had earned an Eclipse Award in the 3-year-old filly division. By the time the son of 2011 champion sire Distorted Humor and the A.P. Indy mare Delta Princess made his first start on Jan. 24, 2015, Royal Delta added two more titles in the older female division. Another half-sister to Khozan, Crown Queen (by Smart Strike) had won the 2014 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (Grade 1), highlighting the anticipation for Khozan’s debut.

Khozan did not disappoint. He posted an Equibase figure of 111 for an authoritative three-and-three-quarter-length victory in a seven-furlong Gulfstream Park maiden special weight. He had an even easier time of it in a first condition, $75,000 optional claiming going a mile over the same track on Feb 22, drawing off effortlessly by 12¾ lengths. That made him the “buzz horse” for the Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1), but he pulled up with an injured hind sesamoid from his last work before the big race and would not run again. Later, in 2019, another half-sibling, the Street Cry horse Delta Prince, would raise the question of what might have been by winning the Grade 1 Maker’s 46 Mark Mile at Keeneland.

The racing world’s loss was Florida breeders’ gain. As of March, Khozan has sired 189 winners, including 76 juvenile winners, and 16 stakes winners, including Polla de Potrillos (Peru G1)-winner Airbus and North American graded stakes-winners Background, Foggy Night, Hot Peppers and R Harper Rose. The latter fillyR Harper is his latest star, having won the Grade 3 Forward Gal Stakes (G3) and finishing second to Launch in the Any Limit, both at Gulfstream Park, so far this year.

“You can’t pigeonhole him,” Journeyman Stud’s Brent Fernung said. “Give him a speedy mare and he’ll get you a sprinter; breed him to a two-turn mare and he’ll get a horse that can carry speed a distance. Physically, he seems to take whatever the mare offers and improve on it, putting some stretch and leg on blocky types and adding power to the rangy ones. He’s medium-sized with good muscling at the shoulder and hip and is extremely well-balanced. He suits a wide variety of mare types and bloodlines, though he’s especially good with mares from the Storm Cat line. You can’t ask for more than that.”

Khozan is standing the 2024 season for $6,500 live foal.

Return to the March 25 issue of Wire to Wire