When City Zip stood his first season at Contemporary Stallions in New York in 2002, he was widely regarded as just another early-maturing sprinter, albeit a pretty good one. With a good but not highly fashionable pedigree and a less than ideal set of forelegs, he was expected to be a sire of early speed and not much else.
Twelve years later it seems safe to say that City Zip has exceeded expectations. To be sure, he does get early speed: He has a lifetime strike rate of 21% juvenile winners, and the average winning distance of his stock is 6.47 furlongs. But he has also gotten graded winners up to 9 1/2 furlongs and on all three surfaces. The biggest surprises may be the improvement of most of his runners with maturity and the affinity many seem to have for turf.
City Zip is the leading son of the Mr. Prospector horse Carson City, who was also a pleasant surprise at stud. Produced from the Blushing Groom mare Blushing Promise, Carson City won the Sapling Stakes (gr. II) at 2 and the Fall Highweight (gr. II) and Boojum (gr. III) handicaps at 3. He died in 2004 at the age of 17 but not before siring 100 stakes winners from 1,057 foals including champions/highweights State City, Small Promises, and Islam and grade I winners City Band, Carson Hollow, Cuvee, Flying Chevron, Pearl City, and From Carson City.
City Zip added to his sire’s reputation by winning the 2000 Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) and five other graded events. While he stayed well enough to place in grade I races at up to 8 1/2 furlongs, he was best at six and seven furlongs. He made 23 starts at 2 and 3, making him a fairly durable horse by modern standards, and was graded-placed on turf.
At the time of City Zip’s retirement, his female line had a decent but not spectacular record. He was the third foal and third winner produced from the Relaunch mare Baby Zip, one of three sprint stakes winners out of the Tri Jet mare Thirty Zip. The winner of eight stakes races and a half sister to stakes winner Cutter Sam, Thirty Zip is out of the Hawaii mare Sailaway, a half sister to grade III winner Quick Fare (by Warfare) and stakes winner Quick Swoon (by Swoon’s Son).
Baby Zip has since upgraded the family considerably. The 2005 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year, she struck gold two years after City Zip with Ghostzapper, Horse of the Year in 2004. Sired by Awesome Again, Ghostzapper combined brilliant speed with the ability to stay 10 furlongs and emulated his sire by winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I). After a slow start at stud, he too has become a successful sire with 40 stakes winners, his latest coming July 26 when his 4-year-old colt Serendip won the Prairie Meadows Handicap.
Also a half brother to Canadian grade III winner City Wolf (by Giant's Causeway), City Zip has sired 482 winners (66.6%) and 53 stakes winners (7.3%) from 724 foals in his first nine crops including 2014 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. I) winner Palace. His current crop of juveniles is his largest yet with 112 foals that has already produced five winners. Ninth on the general sire list by progeny earnings through Aug. 18, City Zip currently leads by number of 2014 winners with 119.
Following his first three seasons in New York, City Zip was transferred to Lane’s End following the 2004 breeding season. His fee for 2014 was $25,000 and reflects his current status: a consistent sire of winners that owners can have some fun with early while entertaining hopes for bigger things later on. He has done particularly well when crossed back to Mr. Prospector or to Mr. Prospector’s sire Raise a Native, a pattern seen in Palace and in grade I winners Bustin Stones and Dana My Love. City Zip has also done well with inbreeding to Blushing Groom, seen in graded stakes winners Run Away and Hide and Unzip Me.
Overall, he has settled into an honorable place as a good breed-to-race sire and, with any luck, will be zipping right along for several more years to come.