By Elaine Belval
Carson City died unexpectedly in 2004, at the age of 17. At the time, it seemed the end of the line for this branch of Mr. Prospector. Carson City was a well-priced, incredibly prepotent sire. A breeder knew what he was getting with this well-bred Mr. Prospector, an early-maturing, sound, durable, dirt sprinter. Carson City sired well over 20 percent 2-year-old winners, and almost 40 percent of his stakes winners were 2-year-old SWs.
But, it turns out, Carson City, quite possibly, saved the best for last. City Zip had his first runners in 2005, the year after Carson City’s death, and since then, this son of Carson City has not slowed down.
City Zip was a typical Carson City racehorse. He won a maiden race at the Churchill Downs spring meet and won another four stakes races at 2, including the G1 Hopeful S. In total, he made 11 starts at 2. He returned at 3 to make another 11 starts, including four victories (one against future champion Speightstown in the G2 Amsterdam S.).
City Zip retired to stud in New York for a modest $7,500 fee. However,City Zip moved to Kentucky for the 2006 season, perhaps because of his Horse of the Year half-brother Ghostzapper. But, more likely, because of his third-place finish on the 2005 Freshman Sire List (behind Tiznow and El Corredor). City Zip sired 20 winners from that crop (the most of any freshman sire in 2005), including two SWs (his six stakes wins were tops among the 2005 freshman sires).
City Zip had five SWs in that first crop, including GSW With a City. He added another four in his next two crops, including G1 winner Bustin Stones.
City Zip has been enjoying a wonderful year in 2010 to date and is third on the list of unrestricted SWs with 11, behind only Distorted Humor with 14 and Speightstown with 12. Recently, his daughter Canadian Ballet won the five-furlong Jenny Wade H and a son won the 8.5 furlong, G2 American Derby. Another daughter also won the six furlong, G3 Royal North S. Perhaps what is most surprising, all three were turf stakes.
Yes, City Zip is following in his father’s footsteps in that 40 percent of his SWs are 2-year-old SWs. However, what is markedly different is that 50 percent of his SWs are turf SWs. And while Carson City sired primarily sprinters, City Zip’s progeny are also showing more versatility there. He has SWs from five to 10 furlongs (the majority in the eight-to-nine furlong range). And like Carson City, the City Zip progeny are sound and durable runners. Get Serious is 6 and has won 12 of 29 lifetime starts. Canadian Ballet is a 5-year-old with 20 starts and eight wins. Unzip Me is the youngster, only 4 with 14 lifetime starts and eight wins.
City Zip had over $4 million in progeny earnings in 2008 and 2009. This year, City Zip already has over $4 million in progeny earnings is currently ranked in the Top 10 on the General Sire List. City Zip sires an outstanding 79 percent starters, 65 percent winners and an excellent 7 percent SWs (not counting 2YOs of 2010). And he also has an excellent 20 percent 2-year-old winners. His average earnings per starter is almost $70,000. Add to this, an average earnings index of 1.87 and a Comparable Index of 1.37. These are excellent stats.
City Zip sired over 100 foals in his first crop of Kentucky-breds, now 3-year-olds of 2010. Based on past performance, many of these progeny will be racing successfully for many years to come. One of them, Workin for Hops, the G2 American Derby winner, just ran third this weekend in the G1 Secretariat S. against rival Paddy O’Prado–the best 3-year-old turf horse in the country.
City Zip stands at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky and his 2010 fee was a bargain $10,000.
(Elaine Belval is senior pedigree analyst at WTC.)