City Zip, the workmanlike stallion who enjoyed his best success in the latter stages of his career, was euthanized at age 19 due to chronic foot problems, Lane's End Farm announced July 25.
Regal in his bloodlines and a grade 1 winner in his on-track form, City Zip nonetheless began his second career in blue-collar fashion when he entered stud at Contemporary Stallions in Coxsackie, N.Y. for the 2002 season. When the half brother to champion Ghostzapper shifted to Lane's End in 2005, he was well received, but still primarily regarded as a sprint sire.
Remarkably enough, the son of Carson City was able to reinvent himself and his standing within the commercial marketplace at a point when many sires have their reputations locked in stone. Beginning with the performances from eventual divisional champions Work All Week and Dayatthespa in 2014, City Zip went on a tear—siring four Breeders' Cup winners in the past three years and finishing 2016 as a top 10 active sire on the general sire list for the third straight season.
"He really did seem to get better as he got older," said Bill Farish of Lane's End Farm. "It is very rare. He was a horse who didn't really end up siring what people thought he would end up siring when he started out. He was such a brilliant sprinter himself, and while he got horses that had good speed, they often could carry it two turns. That was something that surprised a lot of people.
"He started out in New York and came here and had good success all along, but not really the elite success that he experienced later in his career. Looking at his pedigree and what he was turning out, it was just was not what you would have predicted."
After Work All Week took the 2014 Xpressbet Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) and Dayatthespa captured that year's Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1T), City Zip was back in the forefront the following season when his daughter Catch a Glimpse reigned in the 2015 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1T) en route to a title as Canada's Horse of the Year. Last season yielded yet another Eclipse Award champion when Finest City took the 2016 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).
City Zip stood the 2017 season for an advertised fee of $50,000, which was tied with Union Rags as the second-highest on the Lane's End roster. A favorite amongst the barn staff, his good mind and careful demeanor played no small role in helping him endure his foot issues over the years.
"He was intelligent about how he took care of himself, and that's really why he made it as long as he did," Farish said. "He was so careful about how long he was on one side, it was just amazing. Really, he looked good throughout. He was never, I think, in a lot of pain—we would have never put him through a lot of pain if we thought he was. It just got to the point where it was too tough for him. He just couldn't do it anymore."
Trained by Linda Rice for owners Lewis Lakin, Becky Thomas, Carl Bowling, and Charles Thompson, City Zip was a precocious multiple graded stakes winner on the track—including a victory in the 2000 Hopeful Stakes (G1). The hard-knocking ability that allowed the chestnut to make 11 starts as a 2-year-old came through in such offspring as his grade 1-winning son Palace —who earned his top-level victories at age 5.
His ability to inject speed into his runners on all surfaces was also a hallmark, as City Zip also sired grade 1 winner Personal Diary, along with multiple graded stakes winners Collected, City to City, Workin for Hops, Get Serious, Unzip Me, and Alert Bay.
Bred by Adena Springs out of broodmare of the year Baby Zip, City Zip retired with nine wins, six of which were graded, from 23 starts and $818,225 in earnings on the track. He has yielded 700 winners, 72 black-type winners, and six champions from 13 crops of racing age to date with progeny earnings of more than $78.7 million.
City Zip will be buried in the stallion cemetery at Lane's End.
"City Zip has had many significant achievements at stud and it has been a privilege to stand him at Lane's End," said Will Farish, owner of Lane's End Farm. "We are very grateful to the members of his stallion syndicate and our breeders for supporting this special horse throughout his career. City Zip's extraordinarily kind disposition and strong spirit endeared him to all, and he will be greatly missed. We want to thank Dr. Scott Morrison of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital for the diligent and compassionate care that he and his associates provided to City Zip."