STICKNEY/CICERO -- The thirtieth running of the Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap, unlike last week, was contested not under a downpour but rather on an overcast and slightly crisp evening.
Early in the day, MR. VEGAS was scratched from the Carey, changing the race's pace complexion and leaving TAZZ as the lone speed in the $75,000 grass race at nine furlongs. Predictably, TAZZ would break alertly and head for the lead, with THE PIZZA MAN in close attendance as the early pace was slowed down to :24.84 and :50.20 for the opening quarter and half mile. THE PIZZA MAN would start a bid on the turn, getting to the lead but finding TAZZ a tricky but game foe to pass. The pair would battle through the stretch, with THE PIZZA MAN getting the victory by a head over TAZZ. 4 3/4 lengths behind the pair that went top two all the way around was MISTER MARDI GRAS. WARBIRD reported home fourth, three parts of a length behind them.
After the race, jockey Rosemary Homeister, Jr., aboard TAZZ, lodged a claim of foul against rider Francisco Torres, aboard THE PIZZA MAN, for stretch interference. The stewards ruled that there was insufficient evidence and the result, THE PIZZA MAN over TAZZ, stood.
As a result, THE PIZZA MAN, a four-year-old Illinois-bred by English Channel, would be victorious in the Carey Memorial. He was sent off at 3-2 odds, the favorite from the opening bell to the finish. He returned $5.00 to win for trainer Roger Brueggemann and owner Midwest Thoroughbreds. Francisco Torres was aboard. The owner/trainer team swept the late double and notched three victories on the afternoon. Final time for the mile and eighth was 1:50.62 on a course upgraded from "good" to "firm" mid-card and rated "firm" for the Carey.
Winning trainer Roger Brueggemann remarked after the race that the Carey was chosen because "we needed to run; this was all there is"; a remark on the limited opportunites on the Hawthorne Fall turf calendar. Eager to run him after "he needed some time in the summer" following an eventful Kentucky Derby Day allowance adventure, THE PIZZA MAN will "probably run back in three weeks", the target on the calendar being the November 2 $100,000 Buck's Boy Handicap for Illinois-breds on the Hawthorne grass.
The $2 5-2 exacta of THE PIZZA MAN and TAZZ returned$23.00. The fifty-cent 5-2-1 trifecta of THE PIZZA MAN, TAZZ, and MISTER MARDI GRAS yielded $12.85. Dime 5-2-1-7 superfectas with WARBIRD in the fourth slot paid $9.99.
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