12/27/2004 12:00AM

Carson City dies at 17


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Carson City, a Mr. Prospector horse whose progeny included Grade 1 winners City Zip and City Band, died unexpectedly at Overbrook Farm in Lexington on Dec. 24. He was 17.

"All we know is that he died from hemorrhaging, but we don't know the cause of that," Overbrook adviser Ric Waldman said Monday. "We have not received the pathologist's report yet."

Farm staff members discovered that Carson City was in distress in his stall last Friday morning, Waldman said. The horse died soon after that.

"It's a tragic loss for Overbrook Farm," Waldman said. "He was a special stallion to Overbrook - highly successful, a homebred product, and had as broad-based an appeal as any stallion could have."

Carson City, a son of the unraced Blushing Groom mare Blushing Promise, raced at 2 and 3, winning the 1989 Sapling Stakes and 1990 Fall Highweight Handicap, both Grade 2 races, and the 1990 Boojum Handicap, a Grade 3 event. He also finished second in the 1989 Tyro Stakes. Bred and campaigned by Overbrook Farm owner W.T. Young, Carson City retired to his birthplace and became a solid sire of runners.

From 11 crops to race so far, he has gotten 25 graded-stakes winners, including 2002 Canadian champion older mare Small Promises and North American Grade 1 winners City Zip, City Band, Carson Hollow, Cuvee, Flying Chevron, and Pearl City. Carson City also sired State City, winner of Dubai's Grade 1 Golden Shaheen, and 2002 Peruvian champion miler Islam.

Carson City currently has $50,735,302 in progeny earnings, with an average per starter of $81,963. At his death, he was among North America's top 15 sires of 2004, thanks in large part to the exploits of 3-year-old Pollard's Vision, who earned more than $1 million this season. Carson City also ranked 16th among sires of juveniles in 2004. His leading 2-year-old runner this year is Classic Elegance, winner of the Grade 2 Schuylerville during the summer.

Carson City was to have stood for a $35,000 fee in 2005. According to Jockey Club statistics, he was bred to 131 mares this year.