City Zip


Ellen Parker

It seems only fitting that we honor a horse which has accomplished so much, yet is so seldom mentioned among the greats when he is in fact the son of a “sire source” mare (Baby Zip) who also happens to be a former Broodmare of the Year.  This issue of Pedlines seemed destined from the start to cover exactly these kinds of mares.

City Zip is a handsome, bordering on elegant, little horse somewhat reminiscent of his sire (Carson City)’s broodmare sire, Blushing Groom.  He is scopier and looks more like a router than his half brother Ghostzapper, yet quite the opposite is true.

City Zip was very much a sprinter while Ghostzapper became a Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, which got better with age.   City Zip ran 11 times at two alone and won four races.  He returned at three to run 12 more times and win an additional four races.  He earned over $800,000 but Ghostzapper earned over $3 million.

As a result, it was something of a surprise that City Zip has become almost as good a sire as Ghostzapper who obviously has seen superior mares (2.18 CI for Ghostzapper vs. 1.47 for City Zip).  To their credit, both sires move their mares up, with a 2.33  AEI for Ghostzapper vs. a 1.74 AEI for City Zip.

Yet it can be argued that numbers or no numbers that City Zip might be the better – and certainly the more versatile sire – of the two brothers.  Among his best get are Breeders’ Cup winners Dayatthespa and Work All Week, and G1 winners Palace, Personal Diary, Bustin Stones, plus G2 winners Reneesgotzip, Workin For Hops, City To City, With A City, Run Away And Hide (showing promise as a sire), City Style and Puerto Rican champion juvenile filly Dana My Love.

As of this writing, 80% of his foals race, and 62% more win.  He is getting 7% stakes winners.

The enclosed database gives breeders some idea as to how a City Zip mare might do well.  His Relaunch blood is very much at work and he has liked inbreeding to the line itself as well as its components like In Reality, War Relic and Anchors Ahead.

Djeddah, which is a refining aspect of Relaunch is also a ‘hot spot’ and inbreeding him to this line or to Djeddah/Priam looks good.  Two other major crosses have played a large part in his success:  Inbreeding to Nijinsky II, which appears in the Carson City portion of his pedigree and/or to Nijinsky II and his close relation Storm Bird.  Boola Brook, which is a part of Blushing Groom’s lineage (the second dam of his sire, Red God), frequently meets another cross via Crafty Admiral in such sires as Danzig and Affirmed and is enhanced by it.

At 17, City Zip is no longer a young horse, and he has paid his dues.  But there is plenty of time left to appreciate him.  No horse whose offspring has earned over $53 million should ever be overlooked.  He is in many ways an heir to Blushing Groom, but he also expresses Relaunch and his fine dam, Baby Zip.

This is the tail-female line of Quick Wit/Native Gal and it has given us not only City Zip and Ghostzapper but also Affirmed and Lil E. Tee.  What these three have in common is that they did better than many expected as sires.  And so we have some of each left to cross and strengthen.

Still and all, like Affirmed, City Zip is a bit on the feminine side, and a bit late to collect the respect due him.  But as “Bull” Hancock taught us years ago, the family really is stronger than the individual.  And what a family member is this little guy!

Reprinted from Pedlines #172, May-June 2015