A cast of characters from several countries were in appearance for the $400,000 American St. Leger Stakes, but it was a local favorite, The Pizza Man, who took over moving into the far turn and held on to score on Saturday at Arlington International.
Big Kick took control early, leading the field through the first time down the homestretch and for most of the way down the backstretch. The Pizza Man took aim and fired near the far turn, holding sway through the homestretch to hold off a bid from Dandino.
Dandino, going for a repeat win in the St. Leger, finished second; Havana Beat was third. The final time for the 1 11/16 miles turf event was 2:47.44.
This was the fifth straight stakes win for the Roger Brueggemann-trained The Pizza Man, who scored in Arlington's Grade 3 Stars and Stripes last time out. The plucky gelding has now won 12 of 17 lifetime starts. Florent Geroux was aboard for the victory.
“Yes, I was sitting in a stalking position,” Geroux said. “I wasn't worried; I saw his past races and was waiting for him to tell me where to go.”
Bred in Illinois by his owners, Midwest Thoroughbreds, The Pizza Man is a 5-year-old son of English Channel, who stands at Lane's End Farm, and out of the Lear Fan mare I Can Fan Fan.
“I had the perfect race,” said Frankie Dettori, who was aboard second-place finisher Dandino. “Turning in, I thought we would win, but [The Pizza Man] never stopped. He ran really hard to the line. He's coming back to form, now.”
Favored Eye of the Storm finished fifth under Ryan Moore.
Completing the order of finish were Moment In Time, Eye of The Storm, Admiral Kitten, Moro Tap, Infinite Magic, Suntracer, and Big Kick.
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2020 Paulick Report.