The 2-year-old Carson City colt City Zip led early, dropped back off the pace on the backstretch, saved ground on the turn, and came on again in the stretch outside of a tiring Yonaguska to win Thursday's $108,700 Sanford Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga. Under Jose Santos, the colt earned his second stakes victory since being switched to trainer Linda Rice's barn after finishing second to Gold Mover in the Kentucky Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III) on Memorial Day. The winner completed the six furlongs in 1:10.69 over a fast track.
After breaking from the rail, City Zip led early as a blistering pace developed and was a 1/2 length behind Dancing Missile after an opening quarter run in :21.03, with The Goo another 1/2 length back and in between horses. As they continued down the backstretch, Jorge Chavez was forced to take up The Goo as Yonaguska rushed up on the outside. Yonaguska assumed the lead on the turn, opening a one-length lead over Dancing Missile after a half run in :45.26. City Zip was back in third on the rail through the turn and was guided outside in the stretch, challenging Yonaguska for the lead as they raced five furlongs in :57.32. City Zip cruised by in deep stretch, opening up a 3 1/2 length lead over Yonaguska at the wire. Scorpion rallied from next-to-last for third as they raced the final furlong in :13.37. Jacksrbetter finished fourth, followed by Dancing Missile, Blame It On Ruby, and The Goo.
City Zip earned $65,220 for the win, his third in six starts. Previous to the Sanford, he won the Tremont Stakes (gr. III) by 2 3/4 lengths over The Goo after finishing third--behind Yonaguska and The Goo--in the $82,000 Flash Stakes. The Flash start came in City Zip's first start in Rice's care, and just 10 days after his second-place finish in the Kentucky Breeders' Cup Stakes while trained by James Chapman. City Zip was bred in Kentucky by Stronach Stables and was a $9,000 yearling purchase and is owned by Carl Bowling and C. Thompson.
The second wagering choice in the seven-horse field, City Zip returned $8.40, $3, and $2.30. Yonaguska paid $2.30 and $2.10, and Scorpion $2.50. The winning exacta combination was worth $15.