Pesci and His Namesake Hoping For Weekend Win

Pesci and His Namesake Hoping For Weekend Win
Photo: Benoit
Actor Joe Pesci, right, in the paddock with jockey Mike Smith before the filly Pesci broke her maiden at Santa Anita last Nov. 27.
Edited from a release
Unlike her diminutive owner and namesake, Pesci is a gentle giant of a filly, and, according to her trainer Wesley Ward, is ready to come up big when she races in Saturday's $500,000 Sunshine Millions Ocala Breeders' Sales Distaff.

Owned by Ward, actor Joe Pesci, and Mark Giordano, the Stormy Atlantic filly is 2-for-2 on her career despite issues that made those wins somewhat surprising to Ward.

"She was a little short [on training], I thought, going into her first race but she still won it by eight lengths," said Ward. "Her second race she was going around two turns for the first time and fighting a skin rash and she still won that one by five. This time is the first time where everything is 100% so I'm looking for a big race."

Pesci will be competing against a tough field of seasoned fillies and mares in the Distaff, but that doesn't damage Ward's confidence.

"She's only got two races because of some minor setbacks," said Ward. "Most of them have come because she's just so big and blessed with talent that she makes everything look so easy. She'll go out there and work and it will look like she'll breeze in around a minute, then you look down at the stopwatch and it says 54. She could go 43 seconds and we wouldn't even have to ask her, but she's just such a big horse that she ran into some problems that we had to back off her."

Joe Pesci is expected to bring an entourage to the track Saturday to watch his filly run, with actor Robert DeNiro expected to be among them. While Mr. Pesci is famous for his terrier-like tough-guy roles, his filly is anything but.

"She's just a gentle giant," said Ward. "A train could go by right in front of her and she wouldn't even look at it sideways. She does everything nice and easy."

Ward indicated the filly would breeze Wednesday or Thursday at Palm Meadows and head to Gulfstream Friday night.

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