TORONTO, September 16, 2021 – The chance to add a Grade 1 victory to Pizza Bianca’s pedigree page has her sole owner and breeder, celebrity chef Bobby Flay, making plans to be at Woodbine Racetrack on Sunday (September 19) for the $400,000 Natalma Stakes, a one-mile turf race for two-year-old fillies.
“The owner is planning on being there and we’re all excited,” said Pizza Bianca’s trainer Christophe Clement. “For an owner/breeder the black type is a big deal for him and the Grade 1 is also a big deal for him because it’s more than just one race, it’s a long-term plan.”
The winner receives a ticket to the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Fillies Juvenile Turf on November 5 at Del Mar, thanks to the Natalma being part of the Cup’s “Win and You’re In” series. Clement said that is a great bonus, but “the real attraction is it being a Grade 1. A filly with a Grade 1 is a huge deal.”
Pizza Bianca is a daughter of Fastnet Rock (AUS) out of White Hot (IRE) by Galileo (IRE). Her lone career start was a dominant victory in a $100,000 maiden special weight on July 22 on the inner turf at Saratoga with Joel Rosario riding.
“It was her first time out and she’s still learning, but I was happy with the way she behaved the first time out and I was happy with the way she finished and Rosario was very positive about it, so it’s exciting,” said Clement, who is looking for his first Natalma victory. “She’s very honest. She’s been very straight forward since Day One… She’s training well. We don’t know exactly how good she is, but let’s give it a shot. It’s a very open kind of a race and we’ve got a great jock Rosario who knows her and he rode her first time out.”
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Meanwhile, trainer Roger Attfield, who won the 2020 Natalma with Lady Speightspeare, is hoping to repeat with her half-sister Ready Lady for her lone owner and breeder Charles Fipke.
“[Ready Lady] is much easier than her half-sister. [Lady Speightspeare] is very tough,” Attfield said. “[Ready Lady] is all class, actually. She’s just a lovely filly to be around and as of this moment she’s very easy to train. She’s just a charm to have.”
Like Pizza Bianca, Ready Lady has had just one career start, a half-length victory on August 28 in a $126,800 maiden special weight on the turf at Woodbine.
“It was an encouraging race, I thought,” Attfield said. “She’s trained very well since then and we thought if she did we’d give her a chance like we did for her half-sister at this point last year. It’s the same type of timing.”
Lady Speightspeare, a daughter of Speightstown out of Lady Shakespeare, won the 2020 Natalma with Emma-Jayne Wilson aboard en route to a perfect 3-for-3 season and the Sovereign Award for Canada’s champion 2-year-old filly of the year.
Wilson will also ride Ready Lady, who is a daughter of More Than Ready.
“It’s an interesting family because I’ve got so much of it,” Attfield said. “In fact, the maiden colt that I’m running in the Summer Stakes [Ready for the Lady] is related. The colt is out of a daughter of Lady Shakespeare [Perfect Lady] by Perfect Soul, which is her family, too. It’s a big family thing.”
Attfield, a three-time Natalma winner, said the race could be an important step in Ready Lady’s career.
“It’s a progression and it’s a very prestigious race,” he said. “It’s a Grade 1 and she’s a class filly with a big pedigree. It just happens that we’ve only had the one race into her, but it’s just the timing of the year. She was late getting started… We’ve arrived at this point and she’s well and healthy and I thought she won a very creditable race and I think she will move up off that race.”
The Natalma field also includes Wild Beauty (GB), who has a record of 2-2-0 in five starts racing in England for owner/breeder Godolphin. “She’s a little fighter, really. She ran well last time out,” said Chris Durham, who works for trainer Charles Appleby. “She’s done well. She’s settled in here really well. We’re happy.”
The Natalma Stakes is scheduled as the race eight on Sunday while the companion Grade 1 Summer Stakes is the ninth race. Both Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races will be broadcast live on TSN5 from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.
First race post time on Sunday is set for 1:10 p.m. Fans can wager on all the action via HPIbet.com.
$400,000 Natalma Stakes (Grade 1)
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Ready Lady – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Roger Attfield
2 – Pizza Bianca – Joel Rosario – Christophe Clement
3 – Guileful – Simon Husbands – Nathan Squires
4 – Royal Engagement – Colby Hernandez – Timothy Hamm
5 – Wild Beauty – Frankie Dettori – Charles Appleby
6 – Baksheesh – Kazushi Kimura – Mark Casse
7 – Diabolic – Antonio Gallardo – Mark Casse
8 – Mrs. Barbara – Rafael Hernandez – Mark Casse
9 – Cardio Princess – Justin Stein – Mark Casse
10 – Eminent Victor –Flavien Prat – Chad Brown