City Zip is enjoying the kind of year few would have imagined. It’s not that he ranks 10th on the leading sires’ list, but that he ranks third on the leading turf sires’ list. For a stallion who won or placed in 15 stakes on dirt and ran third in one on grass, it’s darn surprising.
“It’s interesting because most people look at him as a sprinter,” said Bill Farish of Lane’s End Farm near Versailles, Ky., where 12-year-old City Zip stands. “Another thing is that he’s not only doing it on turf, but his runners are winning on the grass around two turns.”
City Zip’s sire, Carson City, doesn’t offer much in the way of an answer either, and neither does City Zip’s dam, Baby Zip (by Relaunch), a stakes winner on dirt who finished unplaced in her two starts on turf.
Carson City, by Mr. Prospector, was best known for his sprinting sharpness on dirt and for siring sprinters. City Zip proved one of his best, winning eight one-turn stakes, including the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at 2 at Saratoga and the Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II) at 3 at the Spa over subsequent sprint champion Speightstown . If the answer lies anywhere close up in City Zip’s pedigree, it probably lies in Relaunch, whose best performances came on turf. Both of Relaunch’s stakes wins occurred in graded events on grass. Relaunch also was grade I stakes-placed on turf as well as on dirt.
City Zip’s success on grass this year is overwhelming compared to what the stallion previously accomplished. Eight of his 10 stakes winners are added-money winners on grass. Six of the eight are graded winners: Acting Zippy, City to City, Get Serious, Gleam of Hope, Unzip Me, and Workin for Hops. City to City, Get Serious, Unzip Me, and Workin for Hops are multiple stakes winners on turf this year.
City to City has won the Providencia Stakes (gr. IIT) and the China Doll Stakes and has placed in four turf stakes, three of which are graded. Get Serious has captured the Monmouth Stakes (gr. IIIT) and the Oceanport Stakes (gr. IIIT). Unzip Me has scored in four turf stakes, including the Las Cienegas Handicap (gr. IIIT) and the Royal North Stakes (Can-IIIT). Workin for Hops has won three grass stakes, including the American Derby (gr. IIT) and the Arlington Classic Stakes, and has run second in the Colonial Turf Cup Stakes (gr. IIT) and third in the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT).
“Sometimes stallions don’t do exactly what people think they’re going to do,” said Farish, explaining City Zip’s success as a grass sire. “I don’t think people were breeding to get turf runners. A lot of it might be trainers trying something different to see what works.”
Farish is looking ahead to 2011 in a big way. “I don’t think breeders specifically will be sending turf mares to him,” he said. “But his success with grass runners opens up doors, and that will make for a better book of mares.”