06/15/2007 12:00AM

Finally some good news for Gotham City


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Gotham City had his first winner as a sire on Wednesday when Commissioner Gordon won the final race of the day at Hollywood Park, a maiden claimer.

The victory may have come in a modest race, but it was a milestone to the people involved with the 9-year-old stallion.

There was a time earlier in this decade when Gotham City's life was jeopardized by a severe bout with colic. Watching him survive to become the stallion of a winner was gratifying to the staff of Applebite Farm in French Camp, Calif., where Gotham City stands.

"We had a happy ending, and a new beginning," said Matthew Lomas, Applebite's general manager.

Gotham City's colic illness was so severe that he made only two starts and ended his career a maiden, never reaching his potential as a $2omillion yearling purchase.

Commissioner Gordon was Gotham City's third starter. With a $1,500 stud fee, Gotham City is on the lower end of the price range for California-based stallions. He has not attracted large books of mares in his first four years at stud, which Lomas is hoping will change now that Gotham City's first 2-year-olds have reached the track and that the sire has had a winner.

The stallion's status could be greatly enhanced if Commissioner Gordon makes his next start in a stakes at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton next month. Running there is under consideration.

Commissioner Gordon won the maiden claimer by 4 1/4 lengths, rallying from eighth on the backstretch. He is trained by Jeff Mullins for the Bianco family's Sunset Stable.

"Jeff thought he could get one by them," Lomas said of Commissioner Gordon appearing in a claimer.

Bill Bianco, a former California Horse Racing Board commissioner, owns Sunset Stable with his family. He raced Gotham City in partnership with David Shimmon, and their Fog City Stable spent a fortune more on hospital bills than the $2,880 that Gotham City eventually earned.

"The horse damn near died," Lomas said. "He was such a beautiful horse and they had such a strong feeling they went through extreme measures to save him."

Sunset Stables bred Commissioner Gordon and also bred the Gotham City colt Wayne Manor, who finished second in a maiden special weight at Hollywood Park on Wednesday for owners Curt and Lila Lanning.

"I think if he'd had more experience he could have won," Lomas said of Wayne Manor. "I think he'll be better next time. It's tough to win on the pace at Hollywood Park right now. It was pretty amazing to have two [starters] in the same day."

Gotham City was bred to approximately 30 mares in his first two years at stud in 2004 and 2005, a number that grew to 48 in 2006 but slumped to 29 this year, Lomas said. Finding mares for stallions in their fourth year at stud can be difficult since those stallions have yet to have runners on the track.

This year, Lomas said that 24 mares were bred to Gotham City from outside the farm; five mares came from the Applebite herd.

"This year has been a little quieter, and I expected that," Lomas said. "A lot of people that bred the first and second year came back."

Lomas is hoping that a successful 2-year-old crop for Gotham City will spur interest in the stallion, who is by Saint Ballado. By next year, Gotham City's fee may rise, pending the results from the rest of the year.

"If things go the way they're looking, I would say his stud fee would go up, but I won't announce that until the end of the year," he said. "He'll still be very reasonable."