After prevailing just once in the first 13 starts of his career, Cloud Nine Lumoni’s City of Weston continued a trend of recent success when visiting the winner’s circle for the third straight time after running down favored Brave Dave in the final yards of the $55,000 Big Drama Stakes at Calder Casino & Race Course on Saturday.
Ridden from post two by Jesus Rios, City of Weston settled contently in sixth place through the early stages of Saturday’s six-furlong dash as Brave Dave raced on a pressured lead, setting swift early splits of :21.25 and :44.69.
“The instructions were to wait and be patient, and to see what happens with those other horses on the lead,” Rios said. “So I waited, and on the turn I started to make my move.”
Brave Dave was able to turn back his early pursuers and open up a 2 ½-length lead in mid-stretch, but the colt was clearly beginning to tire in the final sixteenth while City of Weston was just hitting his best stride. With the finish line in sight, City of Weston bullied his way in front, pulling clear in the last jumps to win by three-quarters of a length.
“Once I asked my horse to run, he really started to pick up momentum,” Rios added. “And with a half a furlong to go, I was sure I was going by the leader; I knew we were going to win.”
Trained by Antonio Sano, City of Weston returned $7.20, $3.00, and $2.20 for the victory. Brave Dave paid $4.40 and $2.60 when five-lengths clear of third-place finisher Singanothersong, who brought back $2.20.
The final time for the race was 1:12.42.
Bred in Florida by Haras Gran Derby, City of Weston is now a four-time winner in 16 lifetime starts, with earnings of $163,314. The Big Drama victory was the second straight stakes score for the son of Holy Bull, who also won the $75,000 Sophomore Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on April 6.
Earlier in the year, City of Weston crossed the wire second in the $150,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes at Gulfstream Park where he was beaten less than a length by 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint runner-up and recent Grade 1 Florida Derby third-place finisher Merit Man.