City Man overcomes rough trip in Mohawk; Runaway Rumour ends skid in Ticonderoga

Sunday, October 30th, 2022

City Man (shadow roll, on rail) comes from behind to win another New York-bred stakes in Sunday’s Mohawk on Empire Showcase Day. Dom Napolitano/NYRA Photo.

By Paul Halloran

The odds board indicated City Man shouldn’t have much of a problem in the Mohawk Stakes on Empire Showcase Day Sunday on the closing day card of the Belmont at Big A meeting.

Then the gates opened.

Sent off at 2-5 from the rail, City Man found himself in extremely tight quarters once the field navigated the slight dogleg left turn in the early stages of the 1 1/16-mile turf stakes, as Luis Saez brought pacesetter Rinaldi over to the rail from the No. 7 post.

Joel Rosario was forced to check sharply, but he didn’t lose that much ground and it was a clean trip from there, as Rosario kept the 5-year-old inside throughout, took the lead in the stretch and ran to a 2 1/2-length victory.

“I had to take a little hold of him,” said Rosario, who won aboard City Man for the sixth time, in somewhat of an understatement. “He clipped heels a little bit with the horse in front of him, but he did great. He was really brave. He was the best horse in the race.”

Rinaldi set the pace through fractions of :24.11 and :49.33, with Cold Hard Cash second and City Man third on the rail down the backstretch and into the far turn. Rosario made his move as they straightened for home, and once they cleared the temporary rail in the stretch City Man took off and cruised to victory in a final time of 1:41.66. Cold Hard Cash got up for second and Sanctuary City was third, as City Man won for the eighth time in 25 starts and improved his career earnings to $871,800.

“I tried to ride the race the way it set up,” Rosario said. “At some point I thought I might go outside, but I didn’t have the chance so I took the opportunity to go inside. It looked like I had room (in the stretch) and we went for it.”

Rosario did not appear to be outwardly upset with Saez’ tactics, but winning trainer Christophe Clement seemed slightly less amused.

“I was a bit disappointed that happened, but the good news is that Joel was on him and was able to give him a great ride,” Clement said. “The horse was good enough to get out of it.”

Owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Peter and Patty Searles and out of the City Zip mare City Scamper, City Man was bred at Moonstar Farm. A $20,000 weanling at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga fall mixed sale, Dean Reeves bought him for $185,000 at the 2019 OBS April sale of 2-year-olds in training. He was in the second crop of Mucho Macho Man, whom Reeves campaigned to a victory in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

It was the fourth New York-bred stakes win and second in a row for City Man, who took the Ashley T. Cole Sept. 24.

“This is a wonderful horse,” Clement said. “I need to have more like him. It’s fun. It’s a great credit to the New York-bred program. He’s been going all year long and in open company and New York-breds. I’m just lucky to have him.”

City Man won the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple at Saratoga Race Course and ran second in the Grade 3 Bernard Baruch, before returning to state-bred company in the Ashley T. Cole. His 2022 stats stand at 4-1-0 in seven starts and he may not be done for the year, as the $250,000 Grade 2 Seabiscuit Stakes Nov. 26 at Del Mar is an option.

“There’s nothing left in New York, so I don’t know,” Clement said. “We’ll see how he comes out of it. There’s a stakes in California in late November out at Del Mar that could be fun. He needs a break, too, if you want him to be back next year. So, I’ll speak to Mr. Reeves and we’ll have a plan.”


Runaway Rumour returns to winner’s circle in Ticonderoga

Lawrence Goichman’s homebred New York-bred champion Runaway Rumour ends losing streak in the Ticonderoga. Susie Raisher/NYRA Photo.

When you lose 11 straight races, it’s time to tinker.

In the case of Runaway Rumour, the champion New York-bred turf female of 2021, trainer Jorge Abreu took the advice of jockey Flavien Prat and equipped the 4-year-old filly with cheater blinkers for Sunday’s Ticonderoga Stakes on Empire Showcase Day at the Belmont at the Big A.

The equipment change paid off as Prat kept Runaway Rumour closer to the pace than her previous race – a hard-closing third in the John Hettinger Stakes – and had just enough time to urge her to go by Finest Work and win the Ticonderoga by a head.

“After the last race, Flavien said she dropped herself back and had too much to do,” Abreu said. “The cheater blinkers helped her get more into the race. She was laying 5 off the pace, mid-pack, and I was feeling great. Turning for home, when she went, I knew that was her style. I didn’t think she was going to get there at one point, but then she kept on running.”

Runaway Rumour was in sixth until the far turn of the 1 1/16-mile turf stakes, but only 4 1/2 lengths off the pace set by longshot Mashnee Girl. She had advanced to fourth at the stretch call, but still had some work to do with 2 1/2 lengths to make up. Prat asked and she answered, catching Finest Work in the final strides, with Spungie third. The winning time was 1:42.11.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Goichman said. “It’s been awhile since she’s been a winner (June 26, 2021). We made a little tweak on the equipment. It seemed like her best efforts were when she was 5-6 lengths off the lead and it was too much to ask when she was 11-12 lengths back. With the blinkers she was within shouting distance and she responded well.”

Goichman credited Prat for coming up with the idea and his overall attention to detail.

“Flavien is not only an extraordinary jockey, he’s like a coach when he gets on a horse,” Goichman said. “He will tell you what he thinks, whether you like what he has to say or not. Some jockeys will get off the horse and say, ‘We’ll get ’em next time.’ Flavien makes you appreciate what a really good jockey can do for a horse.”

By Flintshire, Runaway Rumour is out of Elusive Rumour, a daughter of Quiet Rumour and the first broodmare Goichman bought in Europe. Runaway Rumour has become one of Goichman’s best horses, with $424,530 in earnings. Elusive Rumour has produced two other stakes winners bred by Goichman – Myhartblongstodady, whom he owns, and Scuttlebuzz, who sold for $160,000 as a 2-year-old.

Foaled at Edition Farm in Hyde Park, Runaway Rumour was a slow-developing filly who did not race as a 2-year-old, winning her debut in a turf sprint at Belmont Park May 9, 2021. She finished the year with a record of 3-2-1 from eight starts and more than $250,000 in earnings, finishing second in two Grade 2s – the Lake Placid at Saratoga and Sands Point at Belmont.

Her 2022 campaign started with a sixth in the Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, followed by three more off-the-board efforts. She ran second in the Violet Stakes at Monmouth Park Sept. 3, before the third in the Sept. 30 Hettinger.

“Today, she ran great and I think the blinkers were a big difference,” Prat said. “The trip was good. She broke well, got me into the race. I was happy where I was.”

Goichman is hoping it will be a big week for Elusive Rumour, as Goichman’s Lachaise, by Oscar Performance, will run in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Friday at Keeneland Race Course. Lachaise broke his maiden Aug. 4 at Saratoga and ran third in the Grade 2 Pilgrim Stakes at Aqueduct Oct. 2.

“He knows how to run,” Goichman said. “It’s a 14-horse race and you need a lot of luck.”

Leave a Reply