Bloodlines: Whitney Winner Improbable Hit The Mark For City Zip, Bloodstock Investments

When Improbable won the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 1, the striking chestnut colt was further confirming that his sire, the Carson City stallion City Zip, was one of the steadiest contributors of quality in the breed.

City Zip, a Grade 1 winner at two and major winner at three, moved to Lane’s End for his third season at stud and was never the top horse on the farm. The most obvious reason for that was a big bay beast named A.P. Indy, who was the top horse on the farm. City Zip didn’t even start out as second fiddle to the Horse of the Year, but the quality and consistency of the stock that City Zip sired made him a serious force to be reckoned with.

And breeders came to realize that City Zip was also a good sire for a young mare. A medium-sized stallion, City Zip wouldn’t burden a first-time foaling mare with an overly large foal. Furthermore, the stallion consistently contributed speed to his progeny and got startlingly high percentages of starters (84) and winners (66), placing him among the best in breed. As a result, City Zip was a great way to get a nice young mare going as a producer. For instance, a nice young mare by A.P. Indy like Rare Event, who became the dam of Improbable.

Bred in Kentucky by Kilroy Thoroughbred Partnership, Rare Event is out of the stakes-winning mare Our Rite of Spring (by Stravinsky) and is a half-sister to G1 winner Hard Spun (Danzig), who was also second in the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic.

As a yearling, Rare Event was so attractive that G. Watts Humphrey bought the filly for $400,000 at the 2010 Keeneland September yearling auction. On the racetrack, Rare Event won four of 14 starts, earning $114,159.

As the mare’s first live foal, Improbable was a medium-sized, attractive chestnut with three white stockings and a blaze. Humphrey bred the Whitney Stakes winner in partnership with Ian Banwell’s St. George Farm Racing LLC, and the breeders sold the flashy chestnut colt at the 2016 Keeneland November sale for $110,000 to Taylor Made Sales, agent, when the partners also sold Rare Event to Calumet Farm for $150,000 while carrying her second foal on a cover to Lane’s End stallion Quality Road (Elusive Quality).

At the November sale in 2016, Katie Taylor-Marshall, Frank Taylor, and long-time manager John Hall picked out the spritely weanling who grew into Improbable. Katie Taylor-Marshall said, “We bought him as part of the fourth installment of our pinhooking package, Bloodstock Investments. That was the first installment that we did weanlings only; we had a list of sires that we wanted to get for the package that year, and City Zip was one of them. We missed out on one weanling at Fasig-Tipton, and this colt was really nice, so nice that we decided to hold back a little on the other and go stronger” on Improbable, whom the investors bought for $110,000.

“We were able to buy him,” Katie said, “because he wasn’t the biggest; he was just big enough. City Zip was such a solid sire, and this colt is indicative of what City Zips were: he has a strong hind-end, good body, nice neck. Lots of balance and quality.”

Katie recalled that “from the time we bought him, Improbable did well. He had no behavioral problems, no vetting problems. He was consistent and steady [in his development and maturation]. We were going to take him to Saratoga but had another City Zip for Saratoga, and we sent him to September instead,” where the colt brought $200,000 from WinStar and China Horse Club.

Mark Taylor of Taylor Made Sales said that “the first I saw of Improbable was when he came back to Taylor Made and began to integrate in the herd. He was a really nice, stretchy, and really well-balanced horse, and I thought he looked more like a two-turn horse than a lot of runners by his sire. He had some white feet on him, but they were good and sound. He was a really cool horse but a little different from what you normally saw from the sire.”

City Zip was known primarily as a sire of fast horses, not horses who found their best form at longer distances. The stallion could and did get those, however, and he threw uncommon soundness and athleticism into his stock, even those with white feet, which are frequently seen as a sign of a soft or potentially weak foot in a racer.

Instead, Mark Taylor noted that the colt’s sale to the people at WinStar “validated our feeling that this was a really good horse. At the end of his 3-year-old season, I thought that this colt was one of those horses who hadn’t reached his full potential, but he has certainly done the job this season, and when he goes to stud, I know that we will be lining up to breed mares to him because he is a beautiful horse.”

In the immediate future, the plans indicate that Improbable will continue to challenge for a leading role in the older horse division with a goal of the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland in October.

And the Taylor Made crew will be back with more yearlings to sell next month at Fasig-Tipton and at Keeneland.

The post Bloodlines: Whitney Winner Improbable Hit The Mark For City Zip, Bloodstock Investments appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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