10/11/2014 8:26PM

City by the Bay romps in Harvest Stakes


The lights went out in the lane for nine rivals as the 3-year-old City by the Bay ($11.20) unleashed a strong closing kick in her debut against older rivals as she won the $58,225 Harvest Stakes at the Big Fresno Fair by 5 1/2 lengths Saturday.

Unbeaten in her first three starts, including a pair of stakes, City by the Bay ran seventh in the Bet America Oaks at Pleasanton on June 22, three weeks after winning a stakes race at Emerald Downs after an 8 1/2-month layoff.

"It was frustrating. I felt bad for the filly," said trainer Billy Morey. "At the time, we thought it was the right spot."

Morey freshened the filly and began pointing to the Harvest more than two months ago.

City by the Bay sat behind Unforgettable U, who just had won her debut at Los Alamitos, through fractions of 22.38 seconds, 44.89. City by the Bay was moving better on the turn as she rallied three wide into the stretch.

Once the field turned for home, the race was over as jockey Juan Hernandez pushed clear and kept the City Zip filly going to the wire as she increased her margin over the longshot Hidethegoodstuff. Fast-finishing Macha was third, another half-length back, edging the favored Unusual Way by a nose.

City by the Bay, a $40,000 2-year-old purchase by Martin Bach and Jack Owens, had a series of strong works heading into the race, including a pair of six-furlong bullet drills to conclude preparations.

"She's pretty fast when she's racing or working," said Morey. "Those were big works, but we needed them to prepare for this."

The victory, worth $33,350, was her fourth win and third stakes victory. She now has earned $131,175 with four wins in five starts.