Cloud Nine Lumoni’s City of Weston is on track to succeed in Saturday’s $75,000 Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap at Calder Casino & Race Course after a stint of northern stakes appearances and a successful track record in 2013.
During a string of four recent stakes appearances up north, City of Weston scored his first graded stakes victory, which came three starts ago in September at Parx Racing. With a burst down the stretch, he captured the Grade III Gallant Bob Stakes by ¾ of a length in the 6-furlong race.
“He ran the way he runs here,” said trainer Antonio Sano. “He runs with a short rush. He is a horse that is already in condition. I have been maintaining him to appear in his home, because this is his home.”
City of Weston won the 6-furlong Big Drama Stakes at Calder in April by ¾ of a length as well, coming up to take the win down the stretch.
The 3-year-old colt comes into the Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap with four wins, three second place finishes, and three third place results from 13 starts in 2013.
He kicked off the year with a second-place finish by ¾ of a length in his stakes debut, which came in the 6-furlong Spectacular Bid Stakes on the first of the year at Gulfstream Park. Four starts later, when City of Weston returned to stakes action in April, he earned his first career stakes victory in the 7-furlong Ocala Breeders' Sales Sophomore Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs by just a nose after a battle with competitors reaching the wire. He then achieved back-to-back stakes wins with the Big Drama score at Calder.
City of Weston ventured north for the first time in May, where he had a fourth-place finish in the 6-furlong Chick Lang Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. He returned to Calder for a third-place result in the 6-furlong Unbridled Stakes in June and a sixth-place finish in the 6-furlong Grade III Carry Back Stakes in July during his first graded stakes appearance.
While most of Sano’s stakes horses ran in Florida during the summer and fall, Sano elected to keep City of Weston up north to run in four stakes races prior to returning the colt to Florida for the Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap.
“He didn’t have races here in the south (for him),” said Sano. “I had to leave him up there.”
The Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap will be run at 6 ½-furlongs on the main track for 3-year-olds and up. With numerous Calder stakes veterans who are older than City of Weston entered in the race – there are only four 3-year-olds entered in the field of 10, including two 3-year-old fillies – Sano said that City of Weston will do what it takes to win.
“The horse is going to run where he wants to run,” said Sano. “I am not going to force him; (I am going to) let him run his way.”
City of Weston picks up Luis Saez as his jockey for the Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap. They are set to break from post nine. The Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap is scheduled as the eighth race and has an approximate post time of 4 p.m.