By Sid Fernando
Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs South has reopened the stallion operation at its 3,800-acre facility in Williston, Florida, for the 2015 breeding season. The breeding shed had been closed down from the 2010 season onwards for Adena to concentrate on its Kentucky and Canada operations, and now, Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Fort Larned anchors a rotation that includes Capo Bastone, Hunter’s Bay, and City Wolf. Except for newcomer Capo Bastone, the other three are second-year sires relocating from farms in Kentucky, Maryland, and Florida, and City Wolf, who entered stud in the state at Pleasant Acres in 2014, is a particularly intriguing prospect at $4,000 live foal.
Not the racehorse Fort Larned was, Adena homebred City Wolf trumps his accomplished barnmate on pedigree: he’s by sire of sires Giant’s Causeway from Broodmare of the Year Baby Zip, a Relaunch daughter who’s the dam of distinguished racehorses and sires Ghostzapper and City Zip, each also bred by Adena Springs. There isn’t a better sire pedigree in Florida, and if this horse hits, he’ll be moved to Kentucky faster than you can say Adena Springs.
City Wolf made his two-year-old debut for trainer Bobby Frankel—who had masterfully managed the career of Ghostzapper for Stronach—at Belmont Park in October of 2009, a month before Frankel died. The colt was switched to Todd Pletcher and made another start at two and two starts at three through February before he was put on the shelf for a year. Long story short, the son of Giant’s Causeway didn’t win in his first five starts—all on dirt—spanning from October of 2009 through February of 2011, his four-year-old season when he ran unplaced at Gulfstream Park for Canadian conditioner Reade Baker.
In what would prove to be an inspired decision, Stronach had sent City Wolf to Baker with a plan to race at Woodbine on the all-weather. After the one unsuccessful dirt start at Gulfstream in February, City Wolf shipped to Woodbine and won his next four starts, culminating with a stakes victory in the G3 Durham Cup Stakes over nine furlongs. In the beaten field that day was Queen’s Plate winner and champion Eye of the Leopard.
That four-race win streak comprised the highlight of City Wolf’s career. He retired to stud with a record of four wins and four placings (including a runner-up finish in the Durham in 2012) from 18 starts, with total earnings of $293,686.
Giant’s Causeway is the sire of many young sires at stud, including successful stallions Shamardal, one of the best in Europe; First Samurai; Footstepsinthesand; and Intense Focus.
It’s not unrealistic to project success for City Wolf, despite the low fee (remember Malibu Moon at $3,000 and Dynaformer at $5,000?); the late maturity (don’t forget Speightstown and Elusive Quality, who didn’t win stakes until over four); and the non-dirt form (leading US sire Kitten’s Joy didn’t have it; neither did former Florida sire Sovereign Dancer, another who was sent to Kentucky after initial success).
Mares by the Mr. Prospector line, including Seeking the Gold (A+++ eNick), Kingmambo (A+++), and Carson City (sire of City Zip, and an A nick with Giant’s Causeway); and mares by Awesome Again (sire of Ghostzapper) might be inspired matches for City Wolf.