William DeBurgh, Jerry Hollendorfer, and Mark DeDominico's City to City made it a bustling finish in the John C. Mabee Stakes (gr. IIT) (VIDEO) at Del Mar Aug. 12, hurtling down the center of the turf course to catch All Star Heart right on the wire to take the $250,000 event by a nose.
City to City received some support from the bettors, being sent off at 6-1 behind the race's favorites Nereid
, All Star Heart, and Cambina
on the strength of her fondness for the Del Mar grass, over which she had won the Palomar Handicap (gr. IIT).
With the win, the daughter of City Zip
, bred in Kentucky by Dr. D. Michael Cavey Jr.
, went over the $650,000 mark in career earnings. City to City, a 5-year-old mare, is out of the Storm Cat
Nereid, who was third, beaten a half length, in last year's Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT), was made the 3-2 favorite in the Mabee. She had previously dead-heated in the American Oaks (gr. IT) with Cambina, who came into the race off a nose loss in the Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. IIIT).
Go Forth North
broke to the lead in the nine-furlong Mabee, and David Flores kept him in front of the pack until well into the stretch after running a quarter mile in :23.57, a half in :47.09, and six furlongs in 1:10.74.
Jockey Corey Nakatani reserved City to City near the back of the bunch six lengths off the pace. The first challenge to Go Forth North came when All Star Heart and Brice Blanc went for a run at the leader leaving the backstretch. All Star Heart wrested the lead at the sixteenth pole and looked like the winner, but Nakatani, despite dropping his whip, came flying with City to City down the outside. City to City pipped All Star Heart to win in a final time of 1:46.50.
Go Forth North held third, followed by Cambina, Imperialistic, and Nereid.
Hall of Famer Hollendorfer trains the winner, who was one of three on the day for Nakatani. City to City paid $15.00, $6.40, and $4.60. All Star Heart returned $4.80 and $4.40, while Go Forth North brought $5.20. The $2 exacta paid $72.40.
"The race gods are taking pity on me, I guess," said Hollendorfer. "This was a really nice win for City to City and she deserves it, too. She's overcome a lot. She had a really severe injury two years ago here. I never thought she'd ever race again but she overcame it. And she's just been good ever since. She likes this racetrack down here and I congratulate her. We're just along for the ride. She's been going up against some things (recently) that really don't suit her. She's been going longer distances and against really tough competition. Today (Nakatani's ride) was perfect. It couldn't have been any better."