SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y., - Before they even lined up for the 87th running of the Sanford Stakes, Linda Rice was spotting D. Wayne Lukas $1,941,000 and 13 years in experience. The colt she trains, City Zip, was purchased for $9,000 last year as a yearling. His colt, Yonaguska, was picked up for $1.9 million seven months ago as a 2-year-old. Rice had a handful of important stakes races on her resume; he had 13 Triple Crown victories and 20 national champions on his.
But it took only 1:10 3/5 of horse racing - the time City Zip clocked to win his second stakes race - for Rice to show that inexpensive does not mean slow.
When City Zip crossed the finish line a 3 1/2 -length winner, his owners, Carl Bowling and Chuck Thompson, had won $65,220 of the $108,700 purse, his backers had collected $8.40 on a $2 bet and Rice had executed a giant upset in the Grade II race.
Rice said: "You can criticize his appearance, but you can't be critical of him as a race horse."
Rice is very likely to face Yonaguska in the Hopeful on Sept. 2. Lukas, the Hall of Fame trainer, took the loss in stride. "I think we compromised our chances with the big middle move," he said. "But hey, that is why we run them."