Pizza Bianca hits the Royal Ascot ticket to the top of the hill

Pizza Bianca pupil Bobby Flay, heroine of last term’s GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, snagged her ticket to Royal Ascot in style here.

In an impressive 2021 campaign, Pizza Bianca beat her maiden on the Saratoga grass on her July 22 debut in Saratoga and jumped straight into Grade I company, finishing second behind Wild Beauty (Frankel {GB} ) in Woodbine’s GI Natalma S. September 19. This set her up for a run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in Del Mar, where she earned a half-length victory at 9-1. Pizza Bianca came back from the bench to finish second, beaten just three-quarters to length, as a 4-5 favorite in the Memories of Silver S. at Aqueduct on April 24.

Confidently at 2-5 here, she ran in sixth behind leader Murph (Malibu Moon) in a first quarter in :23.31. Patiently handled and still with a lot to do before the far bend, she started to move along the inside, then turned back as the pitch turned towards the house. She was dropped in the stretch and came rolling over to win on her way out.

“[Jockey] Jose [Ortiz] does exactly what we hoped for,” Flay said. “She broke; he kind of put her to sleep around the track; asked him a little; and she behaved very well. Really, a sigh of relief, but also just a great performance.

The G1 Coronation S. at Royal Ascot will be next.

“I did this race in 2011 with More Than Real,” Flay said. “She didn’t run very well, but that’s okay. It was an amazing experience. For me, that’s what it’s all about. These horses can give you unforgettable experiences.

On behalf of Flay, blood agent James Delahooke went for 1.25 million guineas ($2,122,050) for Pizza Bianca’s dam White Hot at Tattersalls October 2014 yearling sale. Pizza Bianca is his mother’s first foal that has never raced. The half-sister of G1 Epsom Derby winner Pour Moi (Ire) (Montjeu {Ire}) is also represented by a yearling colt by Uncle Mo and gave birth to a colt by Not This Time in 2022.

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HILLS.$100,000, Pimlico, 5-20, 3 yrs, f, 1mT, 1:36.54, fm.
1-PIZZA BIANCA, 122, f, 3, by Fastnet Rock (Aus) – White Hot
(Ire), by Galileo (Ire). O-Bobby Flay; BB. Thoroughbred Flay
(KY); T-Christophe Clement; J-Jose L. Ortiz. $60,000. Lifetime
Record: GISW, 5-3-2-0, $717,635.
2–diamond hands118, f, 3, Frosted–Love Cove, by Not For
Love. ($25,000 Ylg ’20 KEESEP; $425,000 2yr ’21 OBSAPR).
1ST TYPE BLACK. O-Robert Masiello & Steven Rocco; B-Brant
Laue & Godolphin (KY); T-Christophe Clement. $20,000.
3–Vergara120, f, 3, Noble Mission (GB)–Figure of Beauty, by
Street cry (Ire). ($130,000 Ylg ’20 KEESEP). O-Gary Broad;
B-Neil Jones (KY); E. Graham motion. $10,000.
Margins: 1 3/4, HD, NK. Odds: 0.40, 7.20, 4.70.
Also ran: Lady Puchi, Determined Gold, Murph, Hail To, Determined Star.