City Man collects first graded stakes in Forbidden Apple

Friday, July 15th, 2022

City Man storms through the lane to win Grade 3 Forbidden Apple Friday at Saratoga. Susie Raisher/NYRA Photo.

By Tom Law

Dean Reeves shopped the 2019 OBS April sale of 2-year-olds in training, bought three prospects and picked out one he thought some friends might want to buy a piece of and campaign in partnership.

“We’re more of the silent partners, we don’t say much,” said Peter Searles, who with his wife Patty bought into the then 2-year-old unnamed New York-bred Mucho Macho Man colt that zipped an eighth in :10.1 before the Ocala auction. “After Dean bought him he called us to see if we wanted a piece. It was an easy answer. We said, ‘yes sir.’ ”

Three years and a few months after making that easy call the partners celebrated another win by the now 5-year-old City Man in Friday’s co-featured Grade 3 Forbidden Apple Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. City Man bested a field that included multiple graded stakes winners Set Piece, Public Sector and Get Smokin and Grade 1 Old Forester Turf Classic runner-up Mira Mission in the 1-mile stakes carrying a $175,000 purse that seemed far insufficient considering the talent.

“That was a great win,” Peter Searles said. “Usually it’s New York-breds that he’s running against, with some open stakes, but this is open company and a graded stakes. And the champagne tastes better when it’s free.”

The Searles’, Dean and Patti Reeves and trainer Christophe Clement and his team earned that champagne in the Carmen Barrera Room after City Man won for the sixth time in 22 starts in a swift 1:33.76 over the firm inner turf under Joel Rosario. City Man, sent off the 12-1 fifth choice in the field of 11, added the Forbidden Apple to his 2022 debut victory in the Danger’s Hour Stakes against open company at Aqueduct. He also improved to 2-for-4 with a second on the grass at Saratoga, where he won last year’s West Point Stakes on Saratoga Showcase Day.

City Man bounced back from a troubled seventh last time out in the Kingston Stakes on Big Apple Showcase Day May 30 at Belmont Park.

“He’s been a bit unlucky lately, so it was fun to have a good trip and he won well,” Clement said. “It’s fun to win the Forbidden Apple, because I did train Forbidden Apple. (City Man is) a good New York-bred, but he’s also a good horse.”

Rosario, aboard for those victories in the West Point and Danger’s House along with the Kingston last time, kept City Man in seventh early in the Forbidden Apple was Yes And Yes and jockey John Velazquez dictated the terms early. Yes And Yes took the field through the opening quarter-mile in :23.31 on a 2-length lead before Get Smokin applied some pressure when the tempo slowed to the half in :47.23.

Yes And Yes clung to a narrow lead through 6 furlongs in 1:10.90 and cut the corner turning for home. Get Smokin and Javier Castellano didn’t handle the turn as well and fanned several paths off the fence while Wolfie’s Dynaghost tried to slide past Yes And Yes to the inside of Clear Vision, Atone and a blocked Set Piece. City Man came from another group of four tracking those six in front, between Public Sector and Mira’s Mission.

City Man accelerated inside the eighth pole, outrunning Public Sector and passing Atone, Wolfie’s Dynaghost and Get Smokin inside the final sixteenth.

“He handled everything fine and put in a good run today,” Rosario said. “Turning for home when we started moving, I got lucky and got out in front of them. (Public Sector) was outside me and it looked like every time I asked him (City Man) to do something, he was moving forward. Sometimes, he’s a funny horse (in traffic), but he was OK with that today. He did great.”

Bred by Moonstar Farm and out of the City Zip mare City Scamper, City Man originally sold for $20,000 as a weanling at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga fall mixed sale. He showed up in the OBS April sale 18 months later, selling as a member of Mucho Macho Man’s second crop.

Reeves, who campaigned Mucho Macho Man to victory in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park and is involved in his stallion career, liked what he saw in the colt at the Off the Hook consignment and bought him for $185,000.

“I’m so happy for Mucho Macho Man to get a graded stakes for us,” Reeves said Friday. “This horse is talented. I felt like if we got a good trip, based on what he did at Aqueduct when he exploded home, he did the same thing here. As soon as it opened up for him, I didn’t expect that big of an explosion but he really kicked on. (The mile) seems to be hitting him just right.”

“It’s been so much fun. We’ve won some big New York-bred races. For him to step out in open company and be successful it’s really rewarding.”

Leave a Reply