While The Pizza Man is listed as the 3-1 morning line favorite for the Aug. 15 American St. Leger Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Arlington International Racecourse, it's Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Hyper who appears to be the choice in the 1 11/16-mile marathon in Arlington Heights.
Midwest Thoroughbreds' The Pizza Man is crossed entered in the day's main event—the Arlington Million XXXIII Stakes (gr. IT)—where the 6-year-old homebred son of English Channel is listed as a 10-1 chance.
The Million is one of two other grade I events on Arlington's signature day and has a post time of 5:48 p.m. CDT. The St. Leger, the first graded stakes on the card, has a 3:42 p.m. local post.
While The Pizza Man won last year's St. Leger, Hyper was on the sidelines throughout 2014. The 8-year-old homebred by Victory Gallop has made three starts this season for trainer Chad Brown, all coming in graded stakes races from 10 to 12 furlongs. He was third in both the Man o' War Stakes (gr. IT) and Singspiel Stakes (Can-IIIT). The 10-time winner has plenty of back class, having won the Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT) in 2013.
The Pizza Man was a neck victor over Roman Approval in the local prep for the St. Leger, the July 11 Stars and Stripes Stakes (gr. IIIT). Kirk Wycoff's Three Diamonds Farm's Roman Approval returns in the St. Leger and will be ridden by Joel Rosario. The Stars and Stripes was the 4-year-old's stakes debut.
Third in the Stars and Stripes was Mom Celine's Calvados, who stalked from the hedge and finished just a length back of The Pizza Man. The 7-year-old by Snipewalk also has had limited stakes experience, but is owned by trainer Ignacio Correas IV, a crafty conditioner who also trains for Kevin Plank's Sagamore Farm.
Beyond the local contingent, two wildcards in the field merit strong consideration.
Lucky Speed, a 5-year-old Irish-bred horse by Silvano (winner of the 2001 Arlington Million) won the Sparda Deutsches Derby (Ger-I) at 3 and was a closing fourth in his North American debut July 19, the Nijinsky II Stakes (Can-IIT) at Woodbine.
Matthew Bryan's Big Chief Racing's Crucero was a neck victor of Southern California's main marathon race, the 13/4-mile San Juan Capistrano Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Santa Anita Park in late June. Kent Desormeaux rides for his brother, Keith.
Arlington International Racecourse, Saturday, August 15, 2015, Race 7
- One and Eleven Sixteenthm
- 3 yo's & up
- 3:42 PM (local)
|1||1Panama Hat (GB)||Chris Hayes||119||Andy Oliver||-|
|2||2Roman Approval (KY)||Joel Rosario||121||Michael J. Maker||-|
|3||3Lucky Speed (IRE)||Andrasch Starke||119||Peter Schiergen||-|
|4||4Crucero (FL)||Kent J. Desormeaux||123||J. Keith Desormeaux||-|
|5||5Az Ridge (KY)||Geovanni Franco||121||Dan L. McFarlane||-|
|6||6The Pizza Man (IL)||Florent Geroux||121||Roger A. Brueggemann||-|
|7||7Hyper (KY)||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||119||Chad C. Brown||-|
|8||8Xtra Luck (FL)||Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.||121||Neil J. Howard||-|
|9||9Calvados (ARG)||Jose Lezcano||119||Ignacio Correas, IV||-|
|10||10Alpha Kitalpha (IL)||E. T. Baird||119||Wayne M. Catalano||-|
|11||11Highball (KY)||Jose Valdivia, Jr.||121||Wayne M. Catalano||-|