LOUISVILLE, KY – Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren, Jr.’s City of Light snapped like a rocket from the rail and never looked back, crackling and popping his way to triumph in Saturday’s Grade 1, $1,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs.
Bursting from post 1 under Javier Castellano at 5/2 odds, City of Light took command without much competition, then posted relatively quick fractions of :22.64, :45.16, and 1:09.03. Beginning to creep away through the far turn, City of Light hit the top of the stretch full of run and began extending his lead. Though he began to slow in the final yards, the Michael McCarthy trainee remained well-clear of his competition, crossing with a 2 3/4-length advantage in a final time of 1:33.83 for the mile-long event over the fast main track.
“I had a good trip,” Castellano said. “I let him break out of the gate a little bit with speed. He set the pace and it worked out great for me today.”
Seeking the Soul overcame having to steady near the 1/4 pole and kept running the length of the stretch to take second by 2 1/2 lengths over Bravazo. It was another 6 lengths back to Firenze Fire, with Giant Expectations another 3 1/4 lengths behind. Perhaps the biggest shock of the day was the total no-show effort from the race’s 4/5 favorite Catalina Cruiser who, after veering out sharply at the break, never looked comfortable and found himself barely able to head Trigger Warning for sixth. Seven Trumpets and Isotherm completed the order of finish.
Awesome Slew was scratched on Friday after spiking a temperature.
City of Light’s win was his third of the year, all in graded stakes races, and improved his lifetime record to 10-5-4-1. The 4-year-old son of Quality Road, purchased for $710,000 as a yearling, has now earned $1,662,600.
“I can’t tell you how long I have been waiting for this,” said McCarthy, his first at a Breeders’ Cup. “I always thought this would be a mismatch. I have been looking forward to this for quite a long time. I thought he would love this racetrack. Backing up to one turn where his best races were, I thought he would run away and hide, and he did just that.”
City of Light returned $7.20 to win, $4.20 to place, and $3.20 to show. Seeking the Soul brought back $7 to place and $4.60 to show, while Bravazo paid $5.80 to show.