City Attraction Grinds to Gravesend
Photo: Coglianese Photos
City Attraction wins the Gravesend Handicap (gr. III) at muddy Aqueduct Dec. 29.
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City Attraction ground past pacesetter Debussy mid-stretch and proved best in the final strides to win the $105,100 Gravesend Handicap (gr. III) (VIDEO) for sprinters on a muddy and sealed Aqueduct inner racing strip on Dec. 29.

The winner was not entered in the Gravesend when it was originally scheduled for Dec. 16. But after the race was postponed by inclement weather and further delayed by the winter break, the winning connections, owner Four Roses Thoroughbreds and trainer Richard Dutrow Jr., opted to pay a $1,000 supplemental fee to enter City Attraction. It was the first graded stakes win for City Attraction, a tough-luck third-place finisher in the Fall Highweight Handicap on Aqueduct's outer track on Nov. 22.

Ridden for the first time MIke Luzzi, City Attraction pressed the pace after breaking alertly from his outside post in the field of five. After collaring the front-running Debussy, the 4-year-old Vicar colt defeated Joey P and regular rider Joe Bravo by three-quarters of the length, with Debussy and Channing Hill third, 1 1/4 lengths behind the winner.

The trio broke off from the remainder of the field rounding the turn after fractions of :22 3/5 and :45 4/5. In the homestretch, Joey P. looked dangerous as he loomed up on the outside, but he could not get past the determined City Attraction, who edged away late to finish in 1:11.97 for six furlongs.

We played the track today," Luzzi said. "We were a little aggressive out of there. They told me if he gets into a fight that he’ll fight for you. I just followed orders and (Dutrow) was right.”

Joey P., the narrow 2-1 choice over City Attraction and Pavo, missed the break and spotted his rivals about three lengths. It proved too much to overcome. Gold and Roses and Pavo, who was never involved, trailed. P. Kerney scratched.

City Attraction ran third in the Fall Highweight after making a wide move on the turn under 130 pounds, losing by a neck to Grand Champion and Joey P. The colt has won three of his past four starts and owns a lifetime mark of 5-5-2 in 16 tries. The winner's share, $64,260, increased City Attraction's earnings to $251,299.

Lothenbach Stables bred City Attraction, who is out of the Quiet American mare American Slew, in Kentucky. The dark bay sold for $35,000 as a yearling at Keeneland in September 2004.

City Attraction carried 115 pounds to victory and paid $6.70, $2.90 and $2.30. Joey P. recording his third consecutive runner-up finish for trainer Ben Perkins Jr., returned $3.20 and $2.60. Debussy, also supplemented to the Gravesend by trainer Gary Contessa, was $3.40 to show.

(Chart, Equibase)

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