Drayden Van Dyke celebrates aboard City of Light after winning the Triple Bend Stakes at Santa Anita Park

Drayden Van Dyke celebrates aboard City of Light after winning the Triple Bend Stakes at Santa Anita Park

Benoit Photo

Making 2018 Debut, City of Light Shines in Triple Bend

Quality Road colt stalked and pounced to win his second grade 1.

Mr. and Mrs. William Warren's City of Light aced his first start of 2018 with his second straight grade 1 win March 10 in the $400,000 Triple Bend Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park.

Unlike his breakthrough victory in the Dec. 26 Malibu Stakes (G1), when he sped to victory on the lead, in the Triple Bend the 4-year-old Quality Road  colt stalked leader Bobby Abu Dhabi, challenged the frontrunner in the turn, and wore down his rival in a stretch duel to win by 1 1/2 lengths.

The win gave jockey Drayden Van Dyke a sweep of the first four races on Santa Anita's Saturday card, and the Michael McCarthy-trained City of Light finished the seven furlongs in 1:21.35. Van Dyke won the first three races aboard Call West, McKale, and Well Developed.

"When you get on a roll like this, it gets your spirits up and puts you in a good mood," Van Dyke said. "I just want to keep it going. ... (City of Light) grabbed me a little bit when he got the bit, but then he relaxed again. He's just a neat horse, and he's so kind."

Early on, City of Light raced two lengths off Bobby Abu Dhabi, who set fractions of :22.33 and :44.55 through a half-mile under jockey Victor Espinoza. But with a furlong to run, the two were just a head apart. A two-time allowance winner, Rockingham Ranch's Bobby Abu Dhabi dug in on the inside but could not match City of Light's strides. Edwards Going Left finished a non-threatening third, another 4 1/2 lengths back.

"He ran really well," Espinoza said of Bobby Abu Dhabi. "I was kind of surprised that everyone took back, because there was so much speed in the race. ... He was just waiting for a horse to see. He kind of got lost in the front, because he's never really been in front by himself. That was the first time. Nevertheless, he still ran a great race."

City of Light was going to run in the Razorback Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn Park, but McCarthy opted to take a little more time with the colt and stay home at his Santa Anita base.

"It's not always easy keeping a horse at the top of his game for an extended period of time and going to 'Plan B', but the horse was good enough today to overcome that," McCarthy said. "I thought the race set up just like it would ... in the Malibu. The horse outside of us (Captain Scotty) showed plenty of pace, and my horse was a bit keener the first three-sixteenths of a mile than I expected.

Drayden dropped his hands coming to the half-mile pole, the horse seemed to settled for him, and he picked him up coming to the lane. It was a hard-fought battle. We were glad to be on the right end of it."

Captain Scotty finished fourth, and Horse Greedy came in last to complete the order of finish.

Bred in Kentucky by Ann Marie Farm out of the Dehere mare Paris Notion, City of Light now has three wins and three seconds from six starts and $490,600 in earnings. He was a $710,000 purchase by Walnut Green from the Lane's End consignment to the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Video: Triple Bend S. (G1)