OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Peter Searles and Patty Searles’ City Man stalked and pounced to a three-quarter length score in Saturday’s $125,000 Ashley T. Cole, a nine-furlong outer turf test for New York-breds 3-years-old and up, at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet.
Trained by Christophe Clement and piloted by Trevor McCarthy, the 5-year-old son of Mucho Macho Man returned to state-bred company after back-to-back Grade 3 starts at Saratoga Race Course, winning the Forbidden Apple in July and finishing second last out in the Grade 3 Bernard Baruch on September 5.
“He’s a really nice horse and has been running all year long,” Clement said. “He’s very honest and he’s a fun horse to be around. He’s a very pretty horse. I’m going to thoroughly enjoy this. I’m very happy Mr. and Mrs. Reeves won it. They have been great supporters of the stable.”
City Man, who had a broken shadow roll replaced at the gate, tucked into third position as Jerry the Nipper led the field through splits of 23.74 seconds and 47.86 under pressure from Advanced Strategy.
City Man advanced with a wide move through the final turn with Sanctuary City following his run as Jerry the Nipper and Advanced Strategy continued to battle on the lead. City Man quickened once straightened for the stretch drive, taking command with plenty in reserve to hold the outside charge of the Manny Franco-piloted Sanctuary City and stop the clock in a course record time of 1:46.95.
Sanctuary City completed the exacta by a nose over a late-arriving Cold Hard Cash with Jerry the Nipper, Advanced Strategy, Cross Border and Action Jackson rounding out the order of finish. Main-track only entrants Bankit and Bossmakinbossmoves, who ran sixth earlier today in the Grade 3 Greenwood Cup at Parx, were scratched.
City Man, a stakes winner in each year of racing, has bested Sanctuary City in previous stakes scores this year in the Forbidden Apple and the Danger’s Hour in April at the Big A.
“I thought he looked well. When he came to the quarter pole, you could see he had plenty of horse there,” said Clement, who won this race previously with Lubash [2012 and 2014]. “A mile and an eighth might be the end of the world for him, but let’s enjoy this one. We’ve been running together [with Sanctuary City]. He’s a nice horse, too.”
McCarthy said he was pleased with the trip he engineered for City Man, who secured his sixth career stakes score and third at Aqueduct.
“He broke well. I got a great position. We were able to get some nice cover,” McCarthy said. “Coming to the three-eighths pole, I just tipped him out, got him into a good rhythm and he finished up really strong for me.”
The James Ferraro-trained Sanctuary City, a multiple stakes-placed son of Temple City, entered from a deep-closing optional-claiming score on September 3 at the Spa.
“It was some race, City Man had to break the track record to beat us,” Ferraro said. “He’s so consistent, this horse. It was a great ride by Manny, too.”
Franco said he was pleased with the effort from Sanctuary City.
“He ran a great race,” Franco said. “I didn’t want to give him too much to do, so I wanted to be right behind the first flight and that’s what I did. He responded really well. [City Man] came out just a touch, but it didn’t bother me.”
Bred in the Empire State by Moonstar Farm, City Man banked $68,750 in victory while improving his record to 24-7-5-3. He returned $4.20 for a $2 win bet.
Live racing resumes on Sunday with a 10-race card, featuring the Grade 2, $250,000 Gallant Bloom in Race 9. First post is 1 p.m. Eastern.
America’s Day at the Races will present live coverage and analysis of every day of Belmont at the Big A on the networks of FOX Sports. For the broadcast schedule and channel finder, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Belmont at the Big A, and the best way to bet every race of the fall meet. Available to horse players nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.
By Mary Eddy – NYRA Press Office
Main photo: City Man wins the Ashley T. Cole (Chelsea Durand)
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