The Pizza Man edges World Approval (rail) and Wake Forest to win the Northern Dancer Stakes
Fresh off an impressive effort in the Northern Dancer Stakes on September 17 at Woodbine, seven-year-old The Pizza Man seeks back-to-back Grade 1 scores, this time in Sunday’s $ 1 million Pattison Canadian International.
Owned by Midwest Thoroughbreds Inc. (nom de course of Richard and Karen Papiese) and trained by Roger Brueggemann, The Pizza Man’s victory in the 1 ½-mile Northern Dancer represented his 17th career win from 31 starts.
The Illinois-bred gelding is a multiple graded stakes winner, including a memorable triumph in last year’s Grade 1 Arlington Million.
Now, he’ll look to add to his impressive race résumé when he contests his second Canadian International. In 2014, he finished fourth, albeit just three lengths behind Hillstar, just one month after a fifth-place performance in the Northern Dancer.
“That Northern Dancer win made me smile,” said Richard Papiese, of the hard-fought neck win at odds of 5-1. “It was a great effort.”
Its’ also one of many that Papiese has witnessed over a career that has seen The Pizza Man’s earnings mushroom to over $ 2 million and include several top-notch efforts.
“He’s always been an honest horse,” praised the successful owner. “You never know just how special they might become early on, but after we got him on turf, we knew that was where he was going to be at his best.”
The son of English Channel will look to be just that when he takes on a world-class field on October 16.
He’ll once again have the services of jockey Flavien Prat, who earned kudos from The Pizza Man’s connections for his ride in the Northern Dancer.
“You look at what he’s done in California,” started Papiese. “He’s not a good rider…he’s an exceptional rider.”
As for his horse’s catchy name, Papiese offered some food for thought: “He has a white marking on his head that looks like a slice of pizza. That’s why we went with the name.”
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