Chop Chop among three early stakes winners for freshman sire City of Light

November 14th, 2022

Since our first installment highlighting the first crop by City of Light, the freshman sire has been represented by an additional six winners, three of whom have won stakes.

By the far the most notable name to date among City of Light's first crop is the Brad Cox-trained filly Chop Chop. Within days of publication of our first installment, Chop Chop captured her debut by 1 1/2 lengths going one mile on the turf at Ellis Park.

Less than three weeks later, on Sept. 3, Chop Chop became City of Light's first stakes winner when taking the one-mile Juvenile Fillies S. at Kentucky Downs by a nose. To test her versatility, Chop Chop was then entered in the Oct. 7 Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland on the dirt. Off slowly, Chop Chop made a sustained rally and just missed by a nose to Wonder Wheel.

The pair met again in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Keeneland earlier this month, with Chop Chop favored at 2-1. However, Chop Chop turned in an uncharacteristically poor performance, trailing the field of 13. Meanwhile, Wonder Wheel, showing a complete change in tactics from the Alcibiades, rallied from near the back to win going away to clinch division championship honors.

"She was a little hot in the paddock for me. I didn't love that," Cox said of Chop Chop immediately after the Breeders' Cup. "She got pushed wide going into the first turn. She got pushed wide actually by the winner. We just didn't have much horse."

Chop Chop's affinity for both turf and dirt figure to give connections plenty of options in regards to mapping out a three-year-old campaign, but expect her to stick to dirt for the time being with the Kentucky Oaks (G1) an early-season goal.

Sendero became City of Light's second stakes winner when taking the Sept. 7 Jamestown S. at Colonial Downs, a 5 1/2-furlong turf dash for Virginia-breds. Sendero had previously run second in his debut in mid-July and has since finished fifth in the Oct. 29 Awad S. at Aqueduct.

City of Light's most recent stakes winner is Lights of Broadway, who improved his record to 2-for-3 with a neck score in the Sept. 24 Armed Forces S. at Gulfstream Park over one mile and 70 yards on the synthetic Tapeta track. Lights of Broadway had broken his maiden over the same track and distance two weeks earlier.

Battle of Normandy, whose maiden win was noted in our first installment, has since run back three times. A neck second in the With Anticipation (G3) at Saratoga on Aug. 31, Battle of Normandy subsequently finished seventh in the Pilgrim (G2) and fifth of 14 in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Keeneland.

Finishing one position behind Battle of Normandy in the Juvenile Turf was another son of City of Light, Gaslight Dancer. A five-length graduate at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 3 in his second start, Gaslight Dancer preceded his Breeders' Cup attempt with a neck second in the Futurity (G3) at Aqueduct.

Continuing the trend of turf winners by City of Light is Candle, who eked out a photo finish against maiden foes sprinting on the grass at Aqueduct on Nov. 4. Candle was produced by the Grade 3-winning Casual Smile, a daughter of Epsom Derby (G1) winner Sea the Stars and Epsom Oaks (G1) upsetter Casual Look.

Besides Chop Chop, City of Light's only other stakes-placed performer on dirt to date is Bourbon Bash. An eight-length maiden winner at Saratoga in August, Bourbon Bash most recently finished a distant second in the six-furlong Bowman Mill S. at Keeneland.