01/23/2015 4:24PM

City Zip gets long-overdue recognition with two Eclipse winners

Barbara D. Livingston
Dayatthespa was one of two Breeders' Cup winners who were subsequently honored with Eclipse Awards for sire City Zip.

City Zip has quietly fashioned a workmanlike stud career, flying somewhat under the radar in the star-studded firmament of central Kentucky’s stallion lineup while consistently turning out hard-knocking runners who produce on the track.

However, the sire broke through with a supernova of a weekend at the 2014 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Park, where Dayatthespa scored a front-running victory in the Filly and Mare Turf and Work All Week confirmed his class by winning the Sprint. Both parlayed those victories into Eclipse Awards in their respective divisions, garnering some long-deserved recognition for City Zip, who has stood at Lane’s End in Versailles, Ky., for the past decade.

“He’s always been just hard-knocking,” Bill Farish of Lane’s End said of the 17-year-old Carson City horse, whose fee got a healthy boost from $25,000 to $40,000 for 2015.

City Zip’s other Grade 1 winners in 2014 were Palace and Personal Diary, who helped him finish strongly in some major statistical categories despite lacking the sheer numbers power of other leading sires. City Zip was second by individual winners, with 160 to Giant’s Causeway’s 164 – despite having 273 starters to the latter sire’s 353. City Zip did have the most repeat winners of the season, with 76. He finished fourth by earnings, behind Tapit (322 starters), Giant’s Causeway, and Kitten’s Joy (294 starters). His finish keyed a strong year for Lane’s End, with Candy Ride – the sire of Eclipse Award finalist Shared Belief – finishing fifth and Lemon Drop Kid eighth.

Interestingly, City Zip, himself a multiple graded stakes-winning sprinter on dirt, accomplished his strong season with a variety of runners. Dayatthespa and Personal Diary accomplished their top-level victories going two turns on turf; Palace and Work All Week are sprinters on dirt.

“He’s such an interesting horse, in my view of things, because he was a sprinter – bred to be a sprinter, was a sprinter, looks like a sprinter – but he’s gotten horses that can run on the turf and run at a mile and a sixteenth and, in some cases, longer,” Farish said. “That’s something that I don’t think people expected from him, was two-turn horses. He’s been very successful doing that, and that increased his popularity a lot.”

City Zip won 9 of 23 career starts and earned $818,225. He flashed talent early as a juvenile, capturing the Grade 3 Tremont Stakes, Grade 2 Sanford Stakes, and Grade 2 Saratoga Special before finishing in a dead heat with Yonaguska for first in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes; eventual divisional champion Macho Uno was third in that race.

City Zip crossed the line first in the Grade 1 Futurity Stakes but was disqualified for interference. He was unplaced in his final two outings of 2000, concluding an ambitious juvenile campaign in which he started 11 times from April to November.

After mixed success on the classics prep trail early in the season – finishing third in the Grade 1 Fountain of Youth Stakes in his best outing around two turns – City Zip returned to sprint company for a productive season, ripping off wins in the Hirsch Jacobs Stakes, Grade 3 Jersey Shore Breeders’ Cup, and Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes; finishing third in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop; winning the Bergen County Stakes; and finishing second by a neck in the Grade 2 Kentucky Cup Sprint. Transferred to turf in the twilight of his career, City Zip was third in the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap before running unplaced in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

City Zip retired to Contemporary Stallions in Coxsackie, N.Y., for 2002 before moving to stand at Lane’s End beginning in 2005. From his first 10 crops of racing age – excluding newly turned juveniles – he is the sire of 510 winners from 667 starters through Jan. 14, a 76 percent strike rate, with 54 stakes winners. His progeny have earned $54,671,251, with a healthy average of $81,966.

City Zip’s top earner is Dayatthespa, who finished her career with a bankroll of $2,288,892, with 11 wins from 18 starts. She was graded stakes-placed as a juvenile and a stakes winner in each of the next three seasons. After winning the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland as a 3-year-old, she returned to that course in 2014 to capture the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes. She then scored in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf to lock up her championship.

Work All Week was the second Breeders’ Cup winner for City Zip, taking the Sprint in his first Grade 1 attempt. The victory was his fifth in six starts in 2014; the consistent campaigner has won 12 of 15 starts overall, finishing worse than second only once, for earnings of $1,357,571. He has never lost on dirt.

Dayatthespa, out of the Doc’s Leader mare M’Lady Doc, and Work All Week, out of the Repriced mare Danzig Matilda, were both products of regional breeding programs, foaled in New York and Illinois, respectively.

City Zip is also the sire of the top sprinter Palace, who has blossomed since being claimed in 2012 by Linda Rice – who also trained City Zip. In 2014, Palace took a pair of Grade 1 events, the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap and Forego Stakes, along with the Grade 2 True North Stakes. City Zip’s other Grade 1 winner in 2014 was Personal Diary, who captured the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks and placed in two other graded stakes.

City Zip’s other top runners include the unbeaten Bustin Stones, the winner of the Grade 1 Carter Handicap; millionaire Grade/Group 3 winners City Style and Get Serious; Puerto Rican champion Dana My Love; Grade 2 winner Reneesgotzip, who finished third in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint and second in that race in 2013; Grade 3 winner Unzip Me, third in the 2010 Turf Sprint; Grade 2 winners Workin for Hops, City to City, and Alert Bay; and Grade 3 winners Gitchee Goomie, Acting Zippy, and Gleam of Hope.

City Zip is out of the winning Relaunch mare Baby Zip, who also produced 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner and Horse of the Year Ghostzapper. The sons of the former Kentucky Broodmare of the Year represented her well at the Eclipse Awards. In addition to City Zip’s two winners, Ghostzapper, who stands at Adena Springs in Paris, Ky., is the sire of champion female sprinter Judy the Beauty. That mare outgamed Better Lucky, also sired by Ghostzapper, to win the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint last fall.

Baby Zip was acquired privately following her racing career by Frank Stronach, whose Adena campaigned and stands Ghostzapper and bred and sold City Zip. Stronach campaigned another half-brother, Grade 3 winner City Wolf, who entered stud last year at Pleasant Acres Stallions near Ocala, Fla.