City Man leads NY-bred exacta in Danger’s Hour

Saturday, April 9th, 2022

City Man returns to his home state and keys New York-bred exacta in Saturday’s Danger’s Hour Stakes at Aqueduct. Janet Garaguso/NYRA Photo.

The connections of City Man probably couldn’t have drawn up a pace scenario any better than the one that unfolded in Saturday’s $100,000 Danger’s Hour Stakes at Aqueduct.

Coming off a four-month freshening and facing a strong field of Grade 3-type turf horses, City Man raced comfortably just behind a pair of dueling frontrunners before taking over in the stretch on the way to his fourth stakes victory. City Man won by 2 1/4 lengths over Sanctuary City, triggering a 1-2 finish for New York-breds in the first turf stakes of the year on the NYRA circuit.

Owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Peter Searles and Patty Searles and trained by Christophe Clement, City Man made his first start since a second in an allowance-optional Dec. 5 at Aqueduct in the 1-mile Danger’s Hour. Freshened in Florida after that December effort, he returned to serious work with Clement’s string at Belmont Park in March, turning in four breezes over the training track to set him up for the Danger’s Hour.

“That’s what good horses do,” Clement said of the 5-year-old son of Mucho Macho Man winning off the bench. “He came back well from Florida where he had a little break. He shipped up here well in good shape and everything worked out. He’s always been a nice horse. He’s been at stakes level since he was a 2-year-old.”

City Man became a stakes winner in his second start, taking the Funny Cide on Saratoga Showcase Day a little more than a month after winning his debut at the Spa. A $185,000 purchase by Dean and Patti Reeves’ Reeves Thoroughbred Racing out of the 2019 OBS April sale of 2-year-olds in training, City Man made his first six starts on dirt and never finished worse than fourth before finding his niche on the grass.

Fourth in the Grade 3 Kentucky Utilities Transylvania Stakes during the pandemic summer meeting at Keeneland in July 2020, City Man has since compiled a record of 3-3-1 in 11 starts on the grass. All three victories came in stakes – the Gio Ponti against open company in November 2020 at Aqueduct, the West Point last summer at Saratoga and now the Danger’s Hour again over open company.

The 5-2 second choice in the field of seven behind 6-5 favorite Value Proposition, City Man raced behind that rival and Rinaldi through the opening splits of :24.01 and :49.15 over the turf labeled good. Rinaldi, winner of last year’s Grade 3 Forbidden Apple on the grass, was expected to be in front but Manny Franco, aboard Value Proposition, hustled his mount to the lead from the break.

Value Proposition eventually shook off Rinaldi but couldn’t hold the lead from City Man and jockey Joel Rosario, who liked what he saw early.

“It looked like the set up with the pace was good for him, and after that it looked like I had the best horse in the race,” Rosario said. “With the way the race unfolded, he was in a perfect spot and did a good job after that. I look forward to the next one.”

City Man, who improved to 5-for-18 and boosted his bankroll to $543,550, won in 1:37.58. Sanctuary City, making his first start since the Grade 2 Red Smith last November at Aqueduct, finished a clear second and 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Value Proposition. New York-breds Therapist and It’s a Gamble finished fourth and fifth, respectively, with Price Talk and Rinaldi completing the field.

Bred by Moonstar Farm, City Man is the fourth foal out of the winning City Zip mare City Scamper. A half-sister to New York stakes winner Alysinstilettos and stakes-placed Always For You, City Scamper is also the dam of the winning New York-bred Laoban ridgling El Mayor, entered in the third race Sunday at Aqueduct; and the five-time winning and $105,017-earning New York-bred Majestic Warrior mare Go Kelly Go.

City Man was purchased by Off the Hook, agent, as a weanling for $20,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga fall mixed sale. He proved a profitable pinhook for Off the Hook, which sold him at the 2019 OBS April sale.

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