Race of the Week 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Illini Breds Ioya Bigtime and The Pizza Man Deliver

All hail the Illinois Breeding program! 


Give me turf or give me death! 


Bring on the Breeders’ Cup!
OK, so sometimes I get a bit overly excited about the horses I like, but there are worse faults to have I think. What’s the reason for my latest bit of racing giddiness? Illinois breds on the turf of course, and what a day yesterday proved to be for the Land of Lincoln runners. Not only did the key 3yo filly turf affair, the Grade 3 Pucker Up, go to state-bred runner Leading Astray, but a pair of my new favorites continued to impress on the sod. While Ioya Bigtime offered further proof that he is one of the top turf distance runners in the nation, The Pizza Man delivered against a salty group of turfing veterans.
Ioya Bigtime is for real, Jack. Any doubts of this should now be long gone after yesterday’s half-length victory over 2011 winner Rahystrada in the $200,000 Kentucky Turf Cup over the European-style course of Kentucky Downs. Keep in mind, this is the same Rahystrada that was coming off a big third place finish in the Arlington Million. As for Ioya Bigtime, the 5-year-old son of the great sire, Dynaformer, seems to have found his game in a big way since trainer Chris Block has looked to run his star long and on the grass. 
First it was an easy win Arlington Park’s Grade 3 Stars and Stripes (above) at twelve panels in July. Then came a bang-up second in the inaugural $400,000 American St. Leger at 1 11/16 miles in August. Finally yesterday’s wire job in southern Kentucky may have been his best yet. Call me a dreamer, but considering the dearth of long distance turf stars in the U.S., I think strong consideration should be given for Ioya Bigtime, now 6-2-3 in 17 lifetime starts, to head west for a date in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Turf.
Meanwhile, and back closer to home, fans of turf racing were hungry for some big performances yesterday, and The Pizza Man delivered. The good-looking and well bred son of English Channel made his sixth lifetime start on the grass yesterday and was giving up oodles of experience to his older foes in the Tex’s Zing Handicap. It mattered not though when rider Seth Martinez swung the bay gelding out wide for the drive for home, and the three-year-old gelding had the field well measured from there, eventually driving to a hard-fought victory over the game and multiple stakes winning six-year-old, Tazz.
A homebred for Midwest Thoroughbreds, and trained by Roger Brueggeman, The Pizza Man has now won five times in his six turf starts, with the only loss coming when he was way back and wide off the ridiculously slow pace of the Grade 3 American Derby. After yesterday, I only feel more strongly that this one will prove that 3 ½ length defeat was due to unfortunate circumstance rather than a lack of ability to handle graded stakes types. In fact, you can mark my words right now … look for The Pizza Man to deliver once again in next month’s Hawthorne Derby.
Photos courtesy of Four Footed Fotos 


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Older Comments about Illini Breds Ioya Bigtime and The Pizza Man Deliver...

Nice rebound from the G3 American Derby for Pizza Man. Hopefully he will stay in Chicago and be out next at Hawthorne. would love to see him live since I didn't make out to AP
The Pizza Man has been impressive this meet, only loss against tougher graded stakes company. He is rising through the ranks and should be a contender for years to come! Chris Block tends to dominate Chicago racing and he is the foundation for the Illinois breeding program!!

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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