A wire to wire winner of the Grade 3 Stars and Stripes Handicap last year, The Pizza Man was again victorious in the race Saturday, closing determinedly to defeat pace-setting Roman Approval right on the Arlington wire.
The Stars and Stripes was The Pizza Man's second start of the year; his first was a victory in the Opening Verse Stakes at Churchill Downs May 30. Trained by Roger Brueggemann, the 6-year-old gelding has 14 wins in 22 starts.
Jockey Florent Geroux was aboard The Pizza Man for Saturday's race; unlike their front-running trip in 2014, they were mid-pack early and let Roman Approval do the early running. The bay gelding moved up on the far turn and charged down the stretch to win by a nose.
“I think this horse is very good mentally,” Geroux said. “He's a horse that can be anywhere during the race and he just knows where the wire is and that's a big plus. The horse does the race and I make sure I'm nice and smooth. I'm just trying to be a good passenger and stay out of his way and he does the rest.”
Final time for the mile and a half race was 2:34.13.
A homebred for Midwest Thoroughbreds, The Pizza Man is by English Channel out of I Can Fan Fan (Lear Fan).
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