08/05/2013 1:14PM

Santa Rosa: Morey has a good one in City by the Bay


Trainer Billy Morey didn’t win either of the stakes at the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa, Calif., over the weekend, but he still considered his week a success with the emergence of the 2-year-old filly City by the Bay.

Sure, he would have been happier had Rush In and Positive Response both finished better than fourth in their respective weekend stakes, the Roger Dupret Derby and Joseph T. Grace Handicap, but his week started off with a bang when City by the Bay scored an impressive 4 1/2-length victory in her debut Wednesday.

A $40,000 purchase at the May Barretts sale of 2-year-olds by Martin Bach and Jack Owens, the City Zip filly was no surprise to bettors, who made her the 8-5 favorite over No Better Terms, who had run second against good competition in both her starts.

No Better Terms broke alertly from the rail with City by the Bay just outside her. City by the Bay stuck to No Better Terms like glue through fractions of 21.97 seconds and 45.34, then bounced away and expanded her lead with every stride through the stretch, winning in 57.62 seconds for five furlongs as No Better Terms faded to sixth. City by the Bay earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 69.

It was as impressive in its own way as She’s a Tiger’s nine-length debut romp in 57.49 at Pleasanton, good for a 68 Beyer. She’s a Tiger, trained by Jeff Bonde, has since won the Landaluce at Betfair Hollywood Park and will be running in the Grade 2 Sorrento at Del Mar on Wednesday, with another Pleasanton maiden winner, Side Letter, also in that field.

While She’s a Tiger was never challenged in her debut after popping the gate, City by the Bay had a legitimate pace rival to deal with from the get-go.

“Her works were awfully good, but you don’t know if they’ll duplicate that in the afternoon,” Morey said. “The way she did it was very impressive. She couldn’t have done it much better.”

Morey said they were attracted to filly in part by her breeding. They have made more than $137,000 with the multiple-stakes-placed English Royal, who also is by City Zip.

“We liked her preview and got really lucky to buy her,” said Morey, who added that the Barretts Sales Stakes next month at Fairplex is a likely destination for her.

Cost of Freedom nears millionaire status

Only $633 stands between 10-year-old Grade 1 winner Cost of Freedom and joining racing’s million-dollar earnings club.

Cost of Freedom will try to become a millionaire Wednesday when he runs in an $8,000 claimer at five furlongs on the turf for trainer Genaro Vallejo, who claimed him for $12,500 two races back.

Cost of Freedom faded late behind the sharp Trumpet Player Jay in a $16,000 race at Pleasanton on June 29.

Cost of Freedom has made only one turf start in his 42-race career, running fourth, beaten a half-length by Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint champion California Flag in the Green Flash Handicap at Del Mar in 2010. Three siblings have won on turf, and his dam, Freedom Dance by Moscow Ballet, won 9 of 16 turf starts.

Cost of Freedom won the Grade 1 Ancient Title at Santa Anita in 2008 and finished third, beaten a head, in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint later that year.

Jess Jackson gets 17 nominees

Seventeen runners were nominated for Saturday’s $50,000-added Jess Jackson Owners’ Handicap at five furlongs on the Santa Rosa turf. They include Kinsale King, the 2010 Golden Shaheen winner; stakes winners Ain’t No Other and Zeewat from trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s barn; Gig Harbor, who hasn’t started since winning last December’s Oakland Stakes; and Ourwestcoastghost, who won the Casual Lies at Pleasanton.

Sunday’s $50,000 Cavonnier Juvenile Stakes at six furlongs got nominations from eight 2-year-olds, including stakes-placed fillies Time for Angie and Purim’s Faith, and the stakes-placed males Tupelo Crush and Luck Lasts. Also nominated was Hirschy, who won at first asking here Aug. 1.

Sarah Nelson beats her clone

The 14-year-old mule Sarah Nelson defeated her 4-year-old clone Lil Sarah on Thursday at Santa Rosa in a 350-yard mule race, the first time a donor and clone have ever met in a race.

Sarah Nelson scored the 61st victory of her 113-race career and raised her record earnings total to $280,919. She also has 30 seconds and 10 thirds. Red Rooster was second, with Lil Sarah third. Another entrant, Bar JF Party Girl, also was making her 113th start.

Roger Downey, who owns Sarah Nelson and Lil Sarah, said the cloning method, done at the University of Idaho, differed from the usual process. Cloning usually involves removing genetic material from the egg of a mare. This was the first time live mule genetic material was used, he said.

Downey said it cost $60,000 to clone Sarah Nelson.

“They’re not identical, but they look similar,” Downey said. “You can clone conformation and athletic ability, but can you clone mind and spirit?”

Downey sees similar traits in the two.

“They’re both aggressive and they’re arrogant,” he said. “They want you to notice them.”

“They’re absolutely similar in temperament,” trainer Diana Skinner said. “They both demand attention, and they’re both very observant. They check you out from head to toe.”

Both like to eat and enjoy treats, although Skinner says she has cut back a bit with Sarah Nelson, who tends to put on weight because of her age.

Skinner was involved with an earlier clone, Idaho Star, who shared Idaho Gem’s DNA. Neither of them really wanted to race.

“A lot of them are just doing their job, but it’s in Sarah’s character to be competitive,” she said. “She does have a competitive edge. And Lil Sarah is just figuring it out.”

◗ Champion jockey Russell Baze will make an appearance at the Humboldt County Fair in Ferndale on opening day next Wednesday to meet fans and sign autographs. Champion mule Black Ruby also will be honored at the fair.