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City of Light will get to shine beyond the Breeders' Cup

Following a couple of days of heavy rain in Louisville, Ky., both the sun and a horse named City of Light shined brightly at the Breeders' Cup. 

The lightly raced 4-year old Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner, conditioned by Michael McCarthy, has been incredibly consistent, never missing the board in 10 career starts. He's also won this year in graded stakes company going anywhere from seven furlongs to 1 1/8 miles.

So, what's his best distance? Every racehorse has one.

“My opinion is I think he’s good for a mile and an eighth, maybe more," said William Warren, who campaigns City of Light with his wife. "Michael and talked quite a bit about entering in the Classic, but we knew he was a miler for sure."

Warren's son, Andrew, agreed, adding, “Anywhere from seven eighths of a mile, to a mile and an eighth, he’s very strong."

The family was confident he'd handle the Dirt Mile well. And the son of Quality Road isn't done yet despite a deal in place with Lane's End Farm to stand him at stud in 2019.

“He will race until the middle of February," Warren said. "I think our next race is in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct. That’s what we’re aiming for next."

Connections also made mention of joining the fray for the $9 million Pegasus World Cup expected to include Breeders' Cup Classic winner Accelerate in January.

City of Light boasted a strong resume heading into the Dirt Mile, with a pair of Grade 1 wins at Santa Anita, plus a Grade 2 score in April at Oaklawn Park, where going two turns he became the only horse this year to beat Accelerate.

In his final prep, City of Light ran second in Saratoga's Forego (G1) off a layoff.

“It looked like leaving away from there the ground kind of broke out from him a little bit," McCarthy said. "He broke real hard and kind of went down half a step and then gathered himself up. It was a super effort."

City of Light got off to a smoother start in the Dirt Mile. From the inside, and with favored Catalina Cruiser to the far outside, jockey Javier Castellano sent City of Light straight to the front. As Seven Trumpets, Firenze Fire and Catalina Cruiser pressed the issue, City of Light clicked off a 22.64-second first quarter mile.

“I was very nervous, as a matter of fact, and just hoping that we would get a good trip out of this," Warren said. "We had a great jockey and a great trainer and that did give me a lot of confidence, so to speak.”

Another of Warren's sons, John-Kelly, “was pounding on his shoulder” as the family cheered on its horse.

"But my eyes were on City of Light the whole time," he added. "I knew he had to break quickly out of the one position and he did. So I was especially pleased to see City of Light continue and lead throughout the whole race."

City of Light hit another gear in deep stretch and proved too much, crossing the wire 2 1/2 lengths ahead of closing Seeking the Soul, in a final time of 1:33.83. Three-year old Bravazo, who had busy campaign and participated in all three legs of the Triple Crown, ran on to be third. Catalina Cruiser faded.

This horse's name, apt for the weekend weather at Churchill Downs, came easy to City of Light's owners.

“Well, the mare’s name was Paris Notion and my wife Suzanne and I had been to Paris several times and actually at that time Flavien (Prat) was riding for Mike McCarthy quite a bit," William Warren said. "I chatted a bit with Flavien, and it all just made sense since he’s from France and the mare’s name was Paris and that City of Light was a natural name."

Now, he'll get more chances to shine before retired.


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Meet Nick Costa

Nick became instantly hooked on horse racing when his father first took him to the racetrack when he was 5-years old. As a racing fan, he's attended several Kentucky Derbys, Belmont Stakes and Breeders' Cups, and has visited several racetracks throughout the United States and Canada.

Back in the year 2000, Nick became a licensed owner and is currently still involved with the sport in that honored capacity. In 2010, Nick added another dimension when trying his hand at writing about horse racing for Horse Racing Nation, and thanks its readers for their support.

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