Irish-bred Century City got his elusive first United States victory Saturday in the $150,000 Turf Paradise Breeders' Cup Handicap for older grass horses in Phoenix.
Making his fourth start since coming to this country late last year, the well-regarded Century City, ridden by Laffit Pincay Jr., defeated Irish Warrior by a neck in a time of 1:42.54 in the 1 1/16-mile turf stakes. Hataab closed from last on the turn for home to be third, another neck behind.
Century City, a 4-year-old son of Danzig out of the Alysheba mare Alywow, saved ground while in mid-pack into the stretch when Pincay angled him five wide for the stretch run. He split rivals nearing the sixteenth marker to take the lead in deep stretch, holding on under a hand ride. Irish Warrior, with G.F. Almeida riding, and Hataab, with David Flores aboard, each lost considerable ground while fanning wide on the final turn.
Duke of Green, a slight 5-2 favorite over Century City, was fifth after prompting the pace of Night Patrol into the stretch.
Owned by Thomas L. Nichols and Kitchwa Stables and trained by Beau Greely, Century City notched his fifth career victory in 12 starts.
Second to Rock of Gibraltar by 1 1/2 length in the Irish 1000 Guineas at The Curragh May 25, he had disappointed as the favorite in both the Nov. 3 Bay Meadows Derby (gr. IIIT), when he was third, and the Dec. 1 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT), when he was eighth. After a fifth-place finish on the dirt in the San Fernando (gr. II) at Santa Anita Jan. 11, Greely returned him to the turf.
The $90,000 winner's share Saturday improved his career bankroll to $363,940.
Century City, bred by Kilcarn Stud, paid $7.40, $5 and $3.60. Irish Warrior returned $11.40 and $7.60. Hataab's show price was $4.40.