The Racing Journal Logo

Fighting City Hall makes career start #100 at Portland Meadows on Sunday


November 28, 2014     E-mail this page to a friend!

Fighting City Hall, between races
(photo by Portland Meadows)
Sundays (November 30) seventh race at Portland Meadows looks like your average $2,000 claiming event at first glance. A field of ten older runners going a mile and seventy yards. But a look at the past performances of the #7—Fighting City Hall—shows that its more than just any other race for him. Its his 100th career start as a racehorse. The 11-year-old gelding has had quite a journey that has led him to this next race at Portland Meadows.

Fighting City Hall was bred in California by prominent businessman and breeder B. Wayne Hughes, who made his fortune as the founder and chairman of Public Storage. Hughes paired together an unraced mare named Grant a Wish with the Sire Smart Strike and on March 4, 2003, Fighting City Hall was born. His sire Smart Strike has produced some extremely talented runners, including the richest earning horse in American racing history—Curlin. Hes also sired Preakness winner Lookin at Lucky, American turf champion English Channel, and the brilliant sprinter Fabulous Strike.

Fighting City Hall didnt make it to the races as a 2-year- old, making his career debut in January of 2006 in a $40,000 maiden claiming event at Santa Anita. He was ready to run that day as he broke his maiden by 4 lengths under jockey Garrett Gomez. He was claimed for $40,000 that day by trainer Warren Stute. Fighting City Hall won his next start and was a strong player in allowance races in Southern California after that. He finished second in the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes at Hollywood Park only three months into his career. A couple starts after that he was claimed for $80,000.

He spent the next many years bouncing around the middle claiming ranks in Southern California. After that he spent time in the Bay Area as well as Phoenix. Hes always been a West Coaster and has run at pretty much every major track along the left coast. And he seems to have done it all while never having a serious injury. Hes had two six month breaks in his 8 year racing career and other than that hes been out battling on the track. Hes run on every surface, at almost every distance.

Fighting City Hall came to trainer Neil Knapps barn in early 2013. Neil got the horse from a trainer at Golden Gate Fields and brought him up to Emerald Downs where he made his debut in the Northwest on April 21, 2013. He wasnt well-considered in that start, as the bettors sent him off at an astronomical 45-to-1 odds in a field of eight. The 10-year-old rallied from off the pace and blew by all his rivals late to win by a length, paying $93.60 for a $2 win ticket. Fighting City Hall has won five more races for Knapp since that effort and won his first start of the year here at Portland Meadows on October 15th. He finished second just beaten a neck last time out on November 12th so hes maintained his form at age 11, even if hes not running against the competition he used to.

He doesnt know hes running for $2,000, said Knapp. I wish I had a whole barn of horses like him. With an older horse like this you got to let him tell you when hes ready to go. Hes a happy guy and he seems to love his job.

When asked about how much longer Fighting City Hall will race, Knapp said hell likely be retired after this season at Portland Meadows.

Weve had a number of people who have expressed interest in giving him a good retirement home when hes done racing, said Knapp. Hes enjoying it this year, but I think his time running is just about done. Hes earned a good retirement.

Fighting City Hall has racked up $266,744 in earnings in his career, with 15 wins to his credit.

Fighting City Hall by the numbers:
- 99 starts
- 15 wins, 16 seconds, 9 thirds
- career earnings of $266,744
- run on dirt, turf, and synthetic surfaces
- raced at 13 different tracks
- run distances as short as 4 furlongs and as long as a mile and one eighth
- claimed 9 times, ranging from $3,200 to $80,000 claiming prices
46 different jockeys
- If you bet $2 to win on Fighting City Hall in every start of his career youd be up $20.30.