September 26, 2020

City of Light rolls in Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile

City of Light, with Javier Castellano up, wins the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Churchill Downs on November 3, 2018 (c) Cecilia Gustavsson/Horsephotos.com

City of Light hustled to the lead leaving the starting gate and was never threatened in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Churchill Downs, scoring by an easy 2 3/4 lengths. Now a three-time Grade 1 winner for Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr., the Michael McCarthy trainee added the services of Javier Castellano and stopped the teletimer in a snappy 1:33.83.

Off as the 5-2 second choice among nine rivals, City of Light led by about a length through opening splits in :22.64 and :45.16. The four-year-old widened his advantage rounding the far turn and reached the top of the stretch with a three-length cushion. He cruised to the wire as much the best.

The anticipated match-up between City of Light and 4-5 favorite Catalina Cruiser never materialized as the latter veered out at the start and was never a factor checking in sixth.

City of Light opened his raced career on July 2017 and made his stakes debut a winning one in the Malibu (G1) at Santa Anita last December. He came back from a 2 1/2-month freshening to capture the Triple Bend (G1), prevailing by a neck over Acclerate, but his win streak came to an end when stretching out to 1 1/4 miles with a third in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) in late May.

The bay was exiting a runner-up in the August 25 Forego (G1) at Saratoga and City of Light has now earned $1,667,600 from a 10-5-4-1 ledger.

“I can’t tell you how long I have been waiting for this,” McCarthy said. “I always thought it this would be a mismatch. I have been looking forward to this for quite a long time. I thought he would love this racetrack. Backing up to one turn where his best races were, I thought he would run away and hide and he did just that.”

Seeking the Soul closed well for second at 10-1, 2 ½ lengths better than 14-1 Bravazo in third. Firenze Fire came another six lengths back in fourth.

Bred in Kentucky by Ann Marie Farm, City of Light was purchased for $710,000 at the 2015 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. His dam, the unraced Dehere mare Paris Notion, counts the Grade 1-winning sprinter Fabulously Fast as a half-sister.