OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Peter Searles and Patty Searles’ City Man has become a New York fan favorite, garnering stakes victories in each of his four years of training. The graded-stakes winning Empire State-bred added to his accomplishments on Saturday, setting a course record in the nine-furlong $125,000 Ashley T. Cole at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet.
Trained by Christophe Clement, the 5-year-old son of Mucho Macho Man completed the 1 1/8 miles over the firm outer turf in 1:46.95, while earning his sixth career stakes victory. The winning effort registered a 96 Beyer Speed Figure and enhanced his lifetime earnings to $761,800.
Clement said City Man could target the $200,000 Mohawk going 1 1/16 miles against fellow state-breds on October 30 during the Belmont at the Big A fall meet. He finished third to Somelikeithotbrown in last year’s running of the Mohawk.
“He came out of his race in good shape. He was impressive yesterday,” Clement said. “There are a few stakes in New York for him. The Mohawk could be the goal. We’ll see how he’s doing.”
City Man’s Ashley T. Cole coup came only 19 days following a late closing second in the Grade 3 Bernard Baruch at Saratoga Race Course. He commenced the 2022 Saratoga meet with his biggest victory to date, defeating open company in the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple on July 15 to produce a career-best 104 Beyer.
“That’s what good horses do, they overcome things,” Clement said.
City Man has garnered six stakes triumphs through a career that dates back to his 2-year-old campaign of 2019 in which he made his first four starts over the main track, graduating at first asking in an off-the-turf state-bred maiden special weight at Saratoga before winning the Spa’s Funny Cide. But the dark bay has since displayed a knack for turf, posting his next five stakes victories on grass.
Off The Hook, operated by Joe Appelbaum and Carlos Morales, bought City Man for $20,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Fall Mixed sale and later sold him to Reeves Thoroughbred Racing for $185,000 at the 2019 OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training.
Appelbaum, who also serves as president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, spoke high volumes of the Fasig-Tipton October Sale in Saratoga.
“There’s always a good residual value with those horses because people realize that even if the horse isn’t a million dollar horse, they can still race it and do a pretty good job economically because of the elevated purse structure in the New York-bred program,” Appelbaum said.
Appelbaum spoke of his familiarity with Mucho Macho Man, who was campaigned by Reeves and won the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic. As an owner, Off The Hook campaigned Grade 1 winner Turbo Compressor, who finished third behind Mucho Macho Man in the 2012 Sunshine Millions Classic for Florida-breds at Gulfstream Park in a field that also included graded stakes winners Ron the Greek, Duke of Mischief and Adios Charlie.
“That was some race. Four graded stakes winners came out of that race, so we kind of knew how good he was,” Appelbaum said of Mucho Macho Man. “Even though he wasn’t the most commercial of sires, we had a lot of confidence in buying a good, tall horse by Mucho Macho Man. When we had City Man, he was great. He breezed well and we sold him to Dean and Patti Reeves pretty nicely. He’s worked out well – a graded stakes winner and a multiple New York-bred stakes winner, so it’s great.”
Appelbaum said City Man was part of Off The Hook’s first season of breeding and buying New York-breds to sell as 2-year-olds.
“He was a good horse from the beginning. When we bought him, we only paid $20,000 for him which I thought was a pretty good value,” Appelbaum said. “He was good the whole way through. The respect we had for Mucho Macho Man led us to buy a horse that we did well with and the client did well with, while adding to the fact that the client was the one who owned Mucho Macho Man to begin with. It all came full circle.”
Off The Hook has consigned and pinhooked high-caliber performers like 2009 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner and Eclipse Award winner Informed Decision; graded stakes winner Break Water Edison; and Japanese millionaire A Shin Wezen.
“We try to sell 40 to 50 horses a year and many of which we’ve either bred ourselves or are homebreds of our clients,” Appelbaum said. “For a while we did a lot in the yearling market, but we do a lot less now although we do buy some. We’ve had a real good strike ratio with the horses we’ve sold. When you compare us to a lot of other places, a lot of our horses wind up being runners.”
And City Man has added his name to Off The Hook’s list of premier graduates.
“He runs his rear end off every time. He’s exactly what you want in a horse,” Appelbaum said. “He’s been real successful at it. First, Dean Reeves is a great guy. He supports the game and he’s a client of ours. We love seeing him successful. To have your opinion confirmed and have your hard work validated at the track is always gratifying.”
This year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Fall Sale, which features a catalogue of 235 weanlings, broodmares and broodmare prospects, is scheduled for Monday, October 17 at 10 a.m. at the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
NYRA Press Office
Photo: City Man wins the Ashley T. Cole (Walter Wlodarczyk)
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