City Zip, Daring Pegasus Ready for Hutcheson

City Zip, Daring Pegasus Ready for Hutcheson
Photo:
City Zip has been refreshened in preparation for Saturday's Hutcheson Stakes.
From Gulfstream Park
City Zip, the speedy Carson City colt who vaulted to national prominence last summer by becoming the first horse in 40 years to sweep Saratoga's major 2-year-old stakes, arrived in South Florida last Sunday to prepare for Saturday's grade II Hutcheson Stakes.

"He's been breezing right along at Carl Bowling's farm in Ocala this winter," said trainer Linda Rice, speaking by phone from New York. "He shipped down to South Florida with Carl Bowling's sale horses. He blew out three-eighths at Calder Wednesday, but he'll be stabled at Hialeah."

The Kentucky-bred crossed under the wire first in five straight races during his juvenile campaign. Prior to his upstate New York scores, City Zip won the Grade 3 Tremont at Belmont by two and three-quarter lengths.

City Zip then tallied by three and a half in Saratoga's grade 2 Sanford, came back to capture the grade II Saratoga Special by two and a quarter, and completed his Spa "hat trick" by dead-heating for the win in the grade I Hopeful with Yonaguska. A neck behind the winning pair in the Hopeful was Macho Uno, who went on to win the Grade I Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in November.

City Zip and Macho Uno, incidentally, were both bred at Adena Springs in the Blue Grass State.

Following the Saratoga sweep, City Zip finished first by a nose in the grade I Futurity at Belmont but was subsequently disqualified and placed second for bumping eventual winner Burning Roma in the late stages.

After the Futurity, City Zip was a badly beaten seventh in the grade I Champagne at Belmont October 14, and was seventh once again, but only beaten four lengths for all of it, in the grade I Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

"He really only ran one bad race and that was in the Champagne," Rice said when summarizing last season. "As it turned out, he was suffering from a respiratory infection in that race. After the race, we found a lot of blood and mucous in his lungs. It wasn't serious, just the usual sort of 2-year-old thing going through the barn.

"However, considering we only had three weeks to get him over the respiratory infection, I thought he gave a creditable performance in the Breeders' Cup," Rice said. "He really wasn't beaten that badly.

"As for how far he wants to go, looking at the Triple Crown and races like that, we're not even thinking that far ahead right now," Rice said. "We're strictly taking it one race at a time, and that's why the seven furlongs of Hutcheson is a good spot for us. We know he can go that far and we'll just see how he comes out of this race Saturday before we make any further plans."

Royal Future, who closed willingly late in the grade III Spectacular Bid Stakes to finish fourth when going three-quarters of a mile, may appreciate the added furlong of Saturday's Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes.

Royal Future, who was only beaten a length and a quarter for all of it in the Spectacular Bid, has shown a flexible running style in the past that also includes a pair of pace-prompting tallies.

"He's a pretty neat little horse," said trainer Frank Gomez. "You can do anything you want with him. I thought he ran okay in the Spectacular Bid. However, I believe Saturday's race looks a little tougher, but we'll give it a try. Mike Smith will ride him again."

Daring Pegasus will be seeking his second straight stakes victory when he starts in Saturday's $100,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II). The seven furlong test will be the first race that Daring Pegasus has run outside of the state of Kentucky.

Trainer Larry Demirette has started Daring Pegasus six times and he has two wins, a second, a third and was unplaced twice. One of his scores was in his last start at Turfway Park on Dec. 23 when he won the Turfway Park Prevue. He also was second in the WHAS Stakes at Churchill Downs at five furlongs last May 6.

"He's a nice colt and has been training very well," Demirette said. "I worked him a half-mile last Saturday and he went in :49. He seems to like this track. I blew him out three-eighths today and he went in :36 2/5 (co-fastest of 14 horses working that distance). He's ready."

Daring Pegasus was forced to the sidelines with a minor foot injury after finishing fourth in the Kentucky Breeders' Cup at Churchill in late May of 2000. After being defeated as the 1-2 favorite in a prep race in mid-September in his first race back, Daring Pegasus won the Turfway Park Prevue Stakes.

"He stumbled very badly at the start and lost all chance in his first start back in September," Demirette said. "But he put it all together in the Prevue in his last start and could have won by much more than his winning margin. The girl (Kim Prather) who rode him said she relaxed on him when she knew she had the race won in the stretch. Edgar Prado has been working him for me in the morning and will ride him in Saturday's race."

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