The Pizza Man will make his first start as a 7-year-old Feb. 6 in the $350,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT) at nine furlongs, which will also be his first race in the Sunshine State.
The Pizza Man ended 2015 on a high note when he won the Hollywood Turf Cup (gr. IIT) by two lengths at 12 furlongs. His two starts prior to that effort came over softer turf courses at Keeneland
, where he ran fifth in the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) and second by a neck in the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT). In the summer The Pizza Man was unbeatable, scoring in the Arlington Million (gr. IT), the Stars and Stripes (gr. IIIT), and the Opening Verse Stakes.
"He's doing great," said Richard Papiese, whose Midwest Thoroughbreds bred and races The Pizza Man. "He would have started in January, but everyone in the barn got a little sick and we just took our time. We're coming here to try to win. It really doesn't matter what the distance is, as long as it's a two-turn race."
has rolled a trio of runner-up finishes in his last three starts, all in graded competition. He most recently finished second by a half-length in the Fort Lauderdale (gr. IIT) at Gulfstream
after a pair of seconds over Woodbine
's Polytrack in the Autumn Stakes (Can-II) and Durham Cup (Can-III).
will make his fifth start in North America. He took the Monmouth Stakes (gr. IIT) in his initial foray, then ran into three soft grass courses at Arlington International Racecourse
and Woodbine, his best effort coming when he finished third in the Northern Dancer Stakes (Can-IT) over yielding turf. The group II winner in France may benefit if the footing comes up firm. Takeover Target
came in a troubled fifth in the Fort Lauderdale, in which he checked at the eighth pole. He won the Hill Prince (gr. IIIT) two back and the Hall of Fame Stakes (gr. IIT) last summer. The mid-pack runner could be dangerous at a square price.
"I think he had a chance to win last time with a little cleaner trip," said trainer Chad Brown. "He's trained well since, and I think he's a top-class horse who should have a good season."
finished third, 1 1/4 lengths behind Lukes Alley in the Fort Lauderdale. He's placed in two graded stakes in his last four outs on the turf and any improvement from last season puts him in the mix. Legendary
hasn't won in 16 months but occasionally pops up and runs a good one, like when he checked in third in the Manhattan (gr. IT) behind Slumber
and Big Blue Kitten
Gulfstream Park, Saturday, February 06, 2016, Race 12
- 1 1/8m
- 4 yo's & up
- 5:23 PM (local)