Mon, 01/28/2019 - 09:08

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL.–It was dark, dreary and getting wetter by the minute as the rain that plagued Hallandale Beach on and off all day picked up as the field for the $9 million GI Pegasus World Cup approached the gate. However, the dreary conditions did not stop City of Light (Quality Road) from shining brightly in his career finale Saturday as he charged home a dominant winner of America’s richest race. The GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner will now join the stallion roster at Lane’s End Farm to stand alongside his red hot sire Quality Road.

Dispatched as the second-choice at 9-5 behind newly crowned champion Accelerate (Lookin at Lucky), City of Light broke sharply from post three and was sent right for the front by Javier Castellano, but was beat to the punch by GI Cigar Mile hero Patternrecognition (Adios Charlie), who was gunned hard from the outside stall by Jose Ortiz. Pressing from a close second outside of Bravazo (Awesome Again) through an opening quarter in :23.23, the bay overtook the pacesetter just after the half went up in :46.84. Patternrecognition plummeted to the back of the field, but Bravazo hung tough on the fence and GI Breeders’ Cup Classic victor Accelerate ranged up on the outside as they approached the turn and the stage appeared set for the battle many expected. That match-up never came to fruition, however, as City of Light proved to be in a league of his own in the stretch, cruising clear with ease to win as he pleased by 5 3/4 lengths. Grade I winner Seeking the Soul (Perfect Soul {Ire}) rallied strongly for second and Accelerate held third. The hard-knocking Bravazo was fourth and GI Florida Derby hero Audible (Lookin at Lucky) checked in fifth.

William and Suzanne Warren keep a small stable, but are no strangers to racetrack success. The Tulsa, Oklahoma-based businessman and his wife’s colors have been carried by the likes of Horse of the Year Saint Liam (Saint Ballado) and MGSWs Mrs. McDougal (Medaglia d’Oro) and Carolyn’s Cat (Forestry).

“Explosive and impactive, just so thrilled,” William Warren said at the post-race conference at the Adena Grill. “I was so worried when we came down here on the Monday. I didn’t get a wink of sleep on Monday night or Tuesday night because my great trainer over there, Michael McCarthy, and I have a relationship that I tell him I’m the coach and he’s the quarterback, and really, he changes the play every day. But I was just plotting the race in my own mind, and I had not anticipated this very wet weather and we didn’t know whether or not City of Light could run in this mud.”

He continued, “And it was just so thrilling to watch Javier [Castellano] ride a masterful race. And we talked about it before he got on the horse, and he knew exactly what he wanted to do, and he executed the plan beautifully. I’m just filled with emotion for my trainer, Michael McCarthy, and for Javier. They got us here and I love them both.”

An emotional McCarthy, whose got a reassuring hug from his 8-year-old daughter Stella as he began to tear up, said, “I was quietly confident all week the horse would run well. We had followed the same routine we did at Churchill Downs when he won the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. Drawing down in the three-hole, drawing down in the side hole, goes inside, his speed–Javier was able to get up to speed and was able to get him outside going to the mile-pole and turn up the back side; whether he ran first or last, we had no excuses from there. He was in perfect position.”

He continued, “Can’t thank Javier enough for having the confidence to take [off] Audible to ride this horse. Says a lot about the kind of person he is, and can’t thank him enough. And I’d also like to thank the family sitting to the right of me. They have done a lot for me personally. They have done a lot for my family. To come here for a day like today, I thought the Breeders’ Cup was, as I said, almost like out of body. Today was, I don’t know — I’m very grateful.”

“I think the horse, he did everything today,” said Castellano. “I think I enjoyed the ride. I’ll be honest with you. I think anybody could have rode the horse. I give all the credit to Mike McCarthy to try to put everything together for this race, and especially the opportunity, Mr. Warren and Mrs. Warren they give me to pick the jockey and to perform in the Breeders’ Cup and now in the Pegasus World Cup. I think I’m very fortunate to be in this spot and I think I’m very grateful.”

Trainer Dallas Stewart was proud of Seeking the Soul’s runner-up effort, saying, “He ran great. Nice horse, a great horse that beat us. He said he got stopped on the turn; that might have cost us a little bit. It would have been great to have been first, but our horse ran great. I’m very proud of him.”

As for the beaten favorite Accelerate, trainer John Sadler said, “We thought he ran a really good race. It was tough conditions out there today. You saw most of the winners on the dirt all day were in front so he’s not really a speed horse per say. The winner ran a beautiful race, you have to give him credit. He was the better horse today. But our horse certainly didn’t disgrace himself. We’re headed out to dinner with our heads high.”

Sadler heads back to California without his champion, who will head to Lane’s End along with City of Light. When asked what he has meant to the barn, the conditioner said, “He’s been a tremendous horse. He’s a champion, an Eclipse Award winner. We’re just thrilled with the whole package. Today wasn’t our day to get the last one but he ran well and we’re really proud of him.”

City of Light did not make his racetrack debut until the September of his 3-year-old year in 2017, but proved worth the wait with a 7 1/2-length triumph at Del Mar. Second in his next two outings, the $710,000 KEESEP purchase captured the 2017 GI Malibu S. and kicked off 2018 with a neck victory over Accelerate in the GII Oaklawn H. last April. Third behind Accelerate in the 10-panel GI Gold Cup at Santa Anita May 26, he was second in the GI Forego S. Aug. 25 and closed out last term with a sparkling success in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

Pedigree Notes:

City of Light is the most recent produce out of Paris Notion, who is also responsible for SP Pointsman (Mt. Livermore) and Exotic Notion (Lemon Drop Kid). The winner’s second dam is Grade I winner Fabulous Notion (Something Fabulous), who produced GISW Fabulously Fast (Deputy Minister).

Source: TDN 1/26/19