It's not too late to jump on the fanwagon of The Pizza Man

It's not too late to jump on the fanwagon of The Pizza Man
Photo: Heidi E. Carpenter

Looking for a horse to replace the retired Ben's Cat in your heart? Look no further than the The Pizza Man. It's the patriotic thing to do. The strapping son of English Channel is eight-years-old, and despite a losing return to the races last month, I believe there are still plenty of good times ahead for fans of the big Illinois-bred.

Yes, he was fourth in the Black Tie Affair Handicap last time, but let's not forget that he was giving big weight, carrying 128 pounds, in his first race in seven months -- I didn't even realize they still asked horses to carry that much anymore. The winner of 17-of-34 also had absolutely no pace to rally into, after the first three-quarters were run in 1:16 and change. He lost by two lengths. You get the idea, The Pizza Man deserves another shot to prove he still has it.

And why not? the Roger Brueggemann-trained gelding was a Grade 1 winner just last September, when he scored in Woodbine's Northern Dancer. It was his 12th career stakes win, and pushed him over the $2 million mark in earnings. Yes, racefans, it's been good to be a fan of The Pizza Man over the years.

It's not too late to jump on the fanwagon. The Pizza Man's next start will come in the familiar Grade 3 Stars and Stripes on July 8 at Arlington Park. The 12-furlong grass race is one in which he has plenty of history. In fact, Saturday will be the fifth consecutive year that the Midwest Thoroughbreds' star competes in the patriotic race. It's all very Ben's Cat like.

After finishing third back in 2013, The Pizza Man rattled off a pair of Stars and Stripes victories the next two years. Unfortunately, he could not complete the three-peat last year, when he finished fourth in a wild four-horse photo. Rooting for him in the 2017 edition will be as American as hot dogs and apple pie.

Let's nor forget, his second win in the Stars and Stripes came one month prior to his biggest career victory, when he became the first and only Illinois-bred to win the Grade 1 Arlington Million. The 2015 edition of the Million is one that fans of The Pizza Man will savor forever.

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, American Pharoah and Justify. 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. His new racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing show, HorseCenter 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 hosting 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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