LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov. 3, 2018) – Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr.’s City of Light ($7.20) grabbed the lead after a four-horse scramble in the first quarter of a mile, put away challenges from Firenze Fire and favored Catalina Cruiser on the far turn and rolled to a 2 ¾-length victory over Seeking the Soul in the 12th running of the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) for 3-year-olds and up on Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Michael McCarthy and ridden by Javier Castellano, City of Light covered the mile 1:33.83 over a fast main track. The victory is the first for McCarthy in the Breeders’ Cup and 10th for Castellano, who also won this race at Keeneland in 2015 with Liam’s Map.
City of Light is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Quality Road out of the Dehere mare Paris Notion. Now with a record of 10-5-4-1, Saturday’s victory is the third Grade 1 triumph for City of Light.
Seeking the Soul rallied from the back of the pack to grab second by 2 ½ lengths over Bravazo who was six lengths in front of Firenze Fire.
Winning trainer Michael McCarthy (City of Light) – “I can’t tell you how long I have been waiting for this. I always thought this would be a mismatch. I have been looking forward to this for quite a long time. I thought he would love this racetrack. Backing up to one turn where his best races were, I thought he would run away and hide and he did just that.
“It feels great. I’ve been part of a lot of these with Todd Pletcher, so it’s great to have one of my own. It means a lot to me. I wish my father in law was here to see it because we spent a lot of nights talking about this horse. We loved the post, Javier (Castellano) rode a great race and it was no secret that we were going to run away from there. At the three-eighths, I knew it was over.”
Winning jockey Javier Castellano (City of Light) – “I had a good trip. I let him break out of the gate a little bit with speed. He set the pace, and it worked out great for me today.”
(On staying off the rail) “I didn’t want to bury myself on the inside. It gave me the opportunity to get the best part. He’s a very special horse the way he did it today.”
Second-place trainer Dallas Stewart (Seeking the Soul) – “I thought he ran great and I’m really proud of the horse. He needed a little more ground, that’s all. I’m very happy for Mike McCarthy and his team. We just got outrun today and that’s horse racing. We’ll point toward the Pegasus from here.”
Second-place jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. (Seeking the Soul) – “My horse ran a huge race He did everything right. He came with a big run. He just got beat by a horse that ran a super race.”
Third-place jockey Luis Contreras (Bravazo) – “I got a perfect trip. At the three-eighths pole, I tapped him on the shoulder to get him going. He likes to run on the outside so I kept in the clear. I thought I might have a chance (at the winner) but he just got away from us.”
Six-place jockey Drayden Van Dyke (Catalina Cruiser, beaten favorite) – “He ran just fine, but he just didn’t run his “A” race. I think that’s about all I can say.”