The Pizza Man Rallies Wide To Hollywood Turf Cup Victory

by | 11.26.2015 | 5:22pm
The Pizza Man and Mike Smith win the Hollywood Turf Cup by two lengths

Far back for the opening mile, Midwest Thoroughbreds' homebred gelding The Pizza Man rallied wide into the stretch under Mike Smith to win the 1 1/2-mile Hollywood Turf Cup going away by two lengths as the even-money favorite. Big John B finished second, with Power Foot third and Power Ped fourth among the 14 runners in the Grade 2 event contested over Del Mar racetrack's Jimmy Durante grass course.

Time of the race on a firm turf was 2:31.75 after slow early fractions of :25.05, :51.10, 1:17.28 and 1:43.05.

Trained by Roger Brueggemann, the Illinois-bred son of English Channel was winning for the fourth time in six starts this year and the Hollywood Turf Cup was his 16th lifetime victory in 26 career outings. His earlier victories this year included the G3 Stars and Stripes and G1 Arlington Million. He finished a close second to Grand Arch in the G1 Shadwell Turf Mile and was fifth behind Found in the G1 Breeders' Cup Turf.

Smith, riding The Pizza Man for the first time, had the gelding fourth from the back and in the clear for the first lap around the track, then commenced his rally moving into the far turn. Smith swung The Pizza Man at least six wide into the stretch and he quickly gobbled up the front-runners on this Thanksgiving Day feature.

Post-race quotes, Del Mar media office:
MIKE SMITH (The Pizza Man, winner) – “That's some stride on that horse I'll tell you. They told me about his turn of foot, but it was sure good to feel it. We had a big field and that kept things honest. Everyone was riding their own horse instead of riding someone else's. When the time came (to make his move), I was able to tip out and make my run. He was there, all there. The Pizza Man for Thanksgiving. I like it.”
Midwest Thoroughbreds' The Pizza Man and jockey Mike Smith win the Grade II $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup Thursday, November 26, 2015 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar, CA.  ©Benoit Photo

Mike Smith was all smiles after guiding The Pizza Man to victory

RAFAEL BEJARANO (Big John B, second) – “I was far back, but very comfortable. He was going well. When we made our run, I followed the winner; I was right behind him and moving well. But he (The Pizza Man) was too good. He was much the best today.”

TIAGO PEREIRA (Power Foot, third) – “It was a good trip.  He ran well for me.”
RICHARD PAPIESE, owner (The Pizza Man, winner) – “He was actually supposed to go to Japan after the Breeders' Cup (fifth in the $3 million Turf) but he got a little lung infection. We were excited to go and represent American racing and racing in general, but coming to Del Mar is great. Same race as last year, different result. Mike let him run his race and when he gets to run his race he's tough to beat. I was absolutely not worried about where he was during the race. Mike said he was going to be eight to 10 off of it and I said, 'You're going to love the afterburners when they kick in.'”
This was the second running of the Hollywood Turf Cup at Del Mar. Previously, it had been run 32 times at Hollywood Park.
This was the first stakes win of the meet for rider Smith, but his 56th overall stakes win at Del Mar, 11th best of all riders.
This is the first stakes win at Del Mar for trainer Roger Brueggemann. He was third with him in this same race last year.
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