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Sapphire City is the sport's newest millionaire
Sunday, April 26, 2015 - from the PHHA/Pocono

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Harrisburg, PA --- Example A of why never to say “Oh, he (or she) is ‘just a fair horse’” is the pacer Sapphire City, a 7-year-old altered son of Metropolitan, winner of his Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes Championship at age 2 and the sport’s newest millionaire following a victory in Saturday’s (April 25) $100,000 Levy Series Consolation at Yonkers.

Just over two years removed from their Vivid Photo Hambletonian fame, Pennsylvania horsemen Roger Hammer (by the way right now just two wins short of 4,000) and Todd Schadel purchased the baby from his breeder, the late Dr. John Hurtgen. As is the case with many Hammer/Schadel co-purchases of yearlings in a given year (Vivid Photo would be one), they divvied up the horses between them to train and Schadel got Sapphire City.

At two, Sapphire City got checks in the “big” Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and was undefeated in five starts at the fairs, after which he posted a wire-to-wire victory in his Fair Championship at The Meadows.

At three, Sapphire City got checks in pari-mutuel Sire Stakes competition and even won a Stallion Series event, so a late-season flurry of 5-3-2-0 fair activity wasn’t enough for him to get to the final, soon after which he was sold to Illinois’ Centaur Stable and Indiana’s Jordan Sklut, who still own him, and he has been under the shedrow of trainer Paul Blumenfeld the vast majority of that time. 

Sapphire City won more than $200,000 in each of his 4-, 5- and 6-year-old years, and $773,895 combined in those three seasons, taking a mark of 1:49.4 at Tioga Downs.

This year he had two early wins in Yonkers’ Open handicaps, which triggered his campaign in the Levy, where he had two seconds (one a half-length loss to Levy champion Domethatagain), a third, and two fourths to earn him a spot in the Consolation.

Ironically, he was never higher than 8-1 in his Levy prelims, but he was 13-1 in the Consolation, where (for the sixth straight week against top-level horses) he used his early speed, perhaps learned in his fair days, to work out a pocket trip, then rallied in the passing lane to win in 1:52.2 and go over seven figures in earnings.

Schadel and Hammer purchased Sapphire City for $27,000 as a yearling and made almost $80,000 with him at two and three, and undoubtedly got a good price when he was sold to the Midwesterners, who obviously have gotten a great deal as well.

Sapphire City, new millionaire, is the embodiment of why using the dismissive term “He’s just a fair horse” is a risky choice of words for anyone.

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