City Man Takes Inside Route in $200,000 Fort Lauderdale
Richest of Six Stakes, Five Graded, Worth $850,000 in Purses
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Peter and Patty Searles’ City Man, under patient handling from jockey Joel Rosario, found a seam along the rail in mid-stretch and sprinted clear late to extend his win streak to three races in Saturday’s $200,000 Fort Lauderdale (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
The 66th running of the 1 1/8-mile Fort Lauderdale for 3-year-olds and up, a local prep for the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), was the richest of six stakes, five graded, worth $850,000 in purses on an 11-race New Year’s Eve program.
City Man ($8.20), a New York-bred son of Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Mucho Macho Man trained by Christophe Clement, completed the distance in 1:46.10 over a firm turf course and put himself on course for the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus Turf Jan. 28.
“He was running so well up in New York and we just felt like he was really on top of his game. I’ve never seen him run this well. We thought, ‘Let’s run another race and really see how he does against open company in a Grade 2,’ and if we did well there we’d look probably to go to the Pegasus,” co-owner Dean Reeves said. “Christophe stables at Payson Park, so we’ll leave him here in Florida and get him ready for the Pegasus.”
Rosario settled City Man in third, saving ground inside as 30-1 long shot Winfromwithin jumped out front and raced on an uncontested lead through a quarter-mile in 23.62 seconds and a half in 46.92. Grade 1-winning stablemate Decorated Invader, who drew into the field following the early scratch of Marwad, chased in second with two-time defending Pegasus Turf champion Colonel Liam in the clear in fourth.
Winfromwithin still clung to a short lead after six furlongs went in 1:10.11 when Decorated Invader and Colonel Liam ranged up on the outside, while Rosario bided his time waiting for room in behind. Unable to move outside Winfromwithin, Rosario ducked to the rail, barged through a narrow opening on the inside and into the clear.
“It was a good trip,” Rosario said. “He came out of the gate well so I could get a good position. I was in a good spot. He did the rest after that.”
Decorated Invader emerged from a four-way photo finish in second, with Street Ready third and Winfromwithin and 60-1 long shot Good Governance in a dead heat for fourth. Colonel Liam, Pao Alto, Tango Tango Tango, King Cause, Shadow Sphinx, Kentucky Ghost and Carpenters Call completed the order of finish.
City Man entered the Fort Lauderdale off wins against fellow New York-breds in the 1 1/8-mile Ashley T. Cole and 1 1/16-mile Mohawk on the Aqueduct turf. Saturday was his fourth win from five starts including the July 16 Forbidden Apple (G3) at Saratoga.
“The idea was to be forward with him. I told [jockey Joel Rosario] not to fight him and be comfortable, and he won well,” Clement said. “It’s a nice race, a prep for the Pegasus. That would be the plan. He’s a New York-bred, so I gave him a break [in the winter] in the past. But this year, I just thought we had never run in the Pegasus and I told Mr. Reeves, ‘Why don't you try to run in the Pegasus?’ It’s a beautiful turf course, well done by Gulfstream. They got it right. All the jockeys have been very positive about it, and I’m delighted.”
Colonel Liam, undefeated in three prior trips over the Gulfstream turf including the 2020 Tropical Park Derby, was making his first start in 281 days since finishing ninth in the Dubai Turf (G1) March 26.
“I thought he worked out a pretty good trip from the wide post. He got to the position we wanted. They were really running along quickly. [Jockey] Irad [Ortiz Jr.] said he flattened out on him a little in the middle of the far turn. It’s been a while since he’s run and hopefully, he needed the race. He seemed to jog back great and looked great,” Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher said. “We’ll train as though he’ll run in the Pegasus Turf unless he tells me not to.”