The Pizza Man returns to action in Black Tie Affair
June 15, 2017 11:55am
The Pizza Man Heidi Stripes 615 X 400
Photo: Heidi E. Carpenter

The 38th running of the Black Tie Affair Handicap at Arlington International Racecourse will mark the return of 2015 Grade I Arlington Million winner The Pizza Man to the Chicagoland oval, as Midwest Thoroughbreds’ homebred makes his first start since finishing third in the Grade III River City Handicap at Churchill Downs last November.

After finishing 1½-lengths behind the winner in last year’s Million, the Roger Brueggemann-trainee shipped to Canada to win the Grade I Northern Dancer Turf Stakes at Woodbine on Sept. 17. An earner of over $2.1 million in purses, the 8-year-old won the 2014 edition of this 1 1/16-miles turf stake for Illinois-breds when coming in fresh after an eight-month layoff. The son of English Channel will carry a highweight of 128 pounds as he breaks from post three under Arlington’s leading rider Jose Valdivia, Jr., who climbs aboard the gelding for the first time.
On the rail for Team Block will be 2016 Black Tie Affair winner Cammack, who will get a six-pound break from The Pizza Man in his fourth start of the year. The 7-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway earned trainer Chris Block his seventh win in the stakes with his wire-to-wire victory last year. The gelding is coming into this race off a pair of wins, including the Old Man Eloquent Stakes at Gulfstream Park going 1 1/16 miles over the grass on Feb. 20. C. H. Marquez, Jr., who has ridden Cammack to four of his ten career wins, gets the leg up.
Breaking between the two heavyweights is Cherrywood Racing Stables’ Super Soldier for trainer Michele Boyce. The 7-year-old son of Lost Soldier set all the pace in the 2015 running of the Black Tie Affair, but was caught late and finished third a half-length behind the winner. Coming off a June 3 win on the Arlington turf with the gelding, jockey Julio Felix will retain the mount from post two.
Oak Brook (Santo Sanjur, post four), Always A Catch (Edgar Perez, post five), and Empirestrikesagain (Chris Emigh, post six) complete the entries.
Seven Illinois-bred fillies and mares are set to contest the 40th running of the Mike Spellman Memorial Handicap at Arlington International Racecourse. Michele Boyce trainee Lovely Loyree, runner-up by a length in the 2016 edition of the 1 1/16-miles turf stakes when carrying the 123-pound highweight, gets the honor again with 122 over Darrell and Sadie Brommer’s graded-stakes winning homebred Prado’s Sweet Ride (C. H. Marquez, Jr., post two), who will carry 121. Feel The Thunder Stable, Oak Rock Racing, et al.’s Lovely Loyree, a 6-year-old daughter of Cactus Ridge, will be ridden by Jose Valdivia, Jr. from post five in her first start since winning the Indiana General Assembly Distaff Stakes at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino last July.
Prado’s Sweet Ride, coming off a win in the New Orleans Ladies Overnight Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots April 1, is now in the barn of Chris Block after the passing of trainer Richie Scherer. The 5-year-old mare by Fort Prado had a rough trip from the rail when finishing off the board in last year’s running of the Mike Spellman Memorial, but the 2015 Grade III Regret Stakes winner with over a quarter-million dollars in earnings on the turf will get another shot to turn the tables on her competitors Saturday.
Arapaho LLC’s Wayne Catalano trainee Stormin Elle, winner of the 2016 Mike Spellman Memorial when carrying one pound less than this year’s assigned 118, will make her second start of the season when breaking from post four under jockey Julio Felix. The 7-year-old daughter of Stormello has won four of her six starts on the grass at Arlington and will look to rebound from her 2017 debut here last month when she finished off the board at 1 1/16 miles over the main track.
Completing the field are Smiling Gambler (Chris Emigh, post one), America Mon Amie (Santo Sanjur, post three), Royalty Princess (Olaf Hernandez, post six), and Ima Little Kitten (Edgar Perez, post seven).
The Arlington Racing Club is set for their first start of the meet with Wayne Catalano trainee Brisson. The 4-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper is entered in the third race on the June 10 card going a mile over the grass at Arlington International Racecourse. Australian jockey Blake Shinn will navigate the two-time winner from post five in the field of ten. Fourth last out against allowance company at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the filly drops to the same claiming price as her most recent win two starts back.

Source: Arlington International Racecourse


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