The Pizza Man Back for Another Million
By Jeremy Balan, courtesy of Blood-Horse
Midwest Thoroughbreds' homebred The Pizza Man will look to become the first horse to win the Arlington Million (gr. IT) back-to-back Aug. 13, but will have to pick up his recent form to take down Arlington International Racecourse's biggest feature again.
Winless in three 2015 starts—including finishes behind fellow Million runners Greengrassofyoming, Pumpkin Rumble, and Kasaqui—The Pizza Man will get the jockey who last rode him to victory, Hall of Famer Mike Smith, aboard for this year's Million.
Smith guided The Pizza Man to victory in the Hollywood Turf Cup (gr. IIT) at Del Mar in November, but hasn't been aboard the Roger Brueggemann-trained English Channel gelding since.
The Pizza Man began his 7-year-old campaign with a fifth-place run in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT) in February, ran fourth behind second-place Kasaqui in the June 18 Wise Dan (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs, and then was just a head back in fourth last time out July 9 at Arlington in the Stars and Stripes (gr. IIIT) won by Greengrassofyoming. Kasaqui also won locally July 9 in the Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT).
The Pizza Man may be chasing a small slice of history, but a foreign invader has garnered the morning-line favoritism.
Godolphin Racing's Tryster, a nine-time winner from 14 starts in England and Dubai—including scores in Jebel Hatta (UAE-I) and Dubai Millennium (UAE-III)—will make his U.S. debut in the Million for trainer Charles Appleby. The 5-year-old Shamardal gelding is 7-2 on the morning line in the field of 13.
Just to Tryster's outside in post 13 is Irish group III winner Deauville, who made a big splash during his U.S. debut July 9 in the Belmont Derby (gr. IT). The 3-year-old son of Galileo won the Belmont Derby at odds of 6-1 and is at the same price on the morning line for the Million.
Other last-out winners in the field include World Approval, who took the United Nations (gr. IT) July 3 at Monmouth Park; Decorated Knight, who won the ICON Meld Stakes (Ire-III) July 14 at Leopardstown; Take the Stand, who is coming off the longest layoff in the field dating back to his victory in the March 26 Muniz Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT); and July 3 Singspiel Stakes (Can-IIIT) winner Danish Dynaformer.
Top-level victors Mondialiste, who is winless in three starts this year in England but took the 2015 Woodbine Mile (Can-IT), and Wake Forest, who won the Man o'War (gr. IT) before running third in the United Nations, fill out the field, along with 2015 Spiral (gr. III) winner Dubai Sky.
The Arlington Million is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Longines Turf, guaranteeing Saturday's victor a spot in the starting gate at Santa Anita on Nov. 5.