07/03/2001 11:00PM

City Zip easy winner of Jersey Shore Cup


OCEANPORT, N.J. - In the $100,000 Grade 3 Jersey Shore Breeders' Cup on Wednesday, City Zip proved that sprinting is his specialty.

City Zip ($5), trained by Linda Rice, dropped back near the final turn, but came again three-wide under Jose Ferrer to win going away by 4 1/4 lengths in 1:09.02 before a meet-high crowd of 21,403. Sea of Green closed on the rail for second, while the 4-5 favorite, Songandaprayer, finished 1 1/4 lengths back of Sea of Green in third.

City Zip, a Grade 1 winner who swept the juvenile stakes at Saratoga last summer, improved his lifetime record to 7-4-2 in 17 starts. He is now a perfect 3 for 3 at the six-furlong Jersey Shore distance.

City Zip had been slated to run in the Riva Ridge Stakes on Belmont Day, but he scratched from the race when he reopened a quarter crack. He pointed for the Jersey Shore after that, and showed no signs of ill effect from that injury on Wednesday.

"He came into this really well, 100 percent," Rice said. "Everything was in line for a great performance, and he delivered."

The Grade 1 Fountain of Youth winner, Songandaprayer, making his return to the races since finishing 13th in the Kentucky Derby, broke well and took the lead from San Mont Andreas entering the final turn. But when City Zip came on his outside at the top of the stretch, he had no answer.

"I wish I had something to say," jockey Joe Bravo said. "He warmed up great and raced great. Today they got the best of us."

City Zip will be pointed for the 3-year-old sprints at Saratoga - the Amsterdam and King's Bishop - with the Breeders' Cup Sprint as the long-term goal.

Regret Stakes: Big Bambu wires

Big Bambu ($4) broke a bit slowly, but went right to the lead and never looked back, running six furlongs in a rapid 1:08.75 to win the $75,000 Regret Stakes for fillies and mares. Big Bambu, trained by Alan Sobol and ridden by Mario Pino, finished 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Katz Me If You Can. Superduper Miss was third.

Big Bambu set unbelievable fractions - 21.40, 43.71, and 55.84 seconds - on the lead, but only increased her advantage down the stretch. The Grade 2 Genuine Risk winner Katz Me If You Can, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, overcame post 11 to finish a game second, but could not make up ground on the front-runner.

Big Bambu, a 4-year-old daughter of Salt Lake, now has nine wins in 13 career starts for owners Ed Marshall and John Schoonover. She will be pointed for the Honorable Miss and Ballerina at Saratoga, a track at which she placed in the Grade 1 Test last summer.

* Astrid ($16.80) gave trainer John Dowd and owner Bobby Hurley a little consolation for their earlier loss with Songandaprayer, winning the $50,000 Serena's Song Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by 4 3/4 lengths in 1:42.07. The 6-5 favorite, Latour, finished second, and Strike It Up was third in the mile and seventy yards race.