Piedi Bianchi has been brilliant most of her career, tackling Graded Stakes company beginning in her 2-year-old season with a fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in 2017. Now, the 5-year-old grey Indiana bred mare is a two-time winner of the $100,000 Frances Slocum Stakes, scoring a convincing win Wednesday, Nov. 18. It was the 24th running of the event going 1 1/16 miles at Indiana Grand.
Piedi Bianchi, who was kicking her heels up in the post parade, was ready to race when the gates opened. She burst out of post nine in the 12-horse lineup and was quickly among the top group heading to the lead. Copper Nickel and Jermaine Bridgmohan crossed over to the lead and were tracked closely by Unbridled Class and Rodney Prescott in the early stages. Horses were three and four wide around the first turn to stay close to the pace setters.
Down the backstretch, some began to retreat, allowing Piedi Bianchi to advance up slowly on the outside. In the final turn, she began to stretch out even more and was neck and neck with Magical Peapod and Rocco Bowen and Copper Nickel. In the stretch, Fernando De La Cruz gave a command to advance and she blasted to the lead, drawing away by seven and one-half lengths at the finish line for the win. Fireball Baby and Marcelino Pedroza closed gamely for second, just a head in front of Expect Indy and Emmanuel Esquivel to make it a first and third finish for trainer Cipriano Contreras.
“I was a little worried about the post position,” admitted De La Cruz. “We were four-wide, but we were able to sit down and wait. I knew at the half-mile we had a good shot to win because I was sitting on a lot of horse. At the quarter pole, I asked her for more and she did it all by herself.”
Piedi Bianchi now has six career wins in 19 career starts for owners Jay Oringer, Jack Bick and Madaket Stables. An $80,000 purchase at two from the Ocala sales in 2017, Piedi Bianchi now possesses in excess of $578,000 in purse earnings and moves into eighth place on the list of all-time leading Indiana bred money earners. Among females, she is ranked third behind Lady Fog Horn ($824,273) and Dreamin Big ($602,350).
“This is a nice mare that has been running in Graded Stakes competition,” said Contreras. “She has been training really good up to this race and I think she is a little bit better going a little longer. The main thing today is to stay out of trouble and the race worked out perfectly. When you are a big favorite like that, the worst thing to happen is to get caught in behind horses, so being wide wasn’t a concern. Fernando (De La Cruz) did a good job. He waited and was patient.”
The abbreviated 2020 racing season comes to a close Thursday, Nov. 19 with a mandatory payout in the Straight Fire 6. The carryover heading into closing day is in excess of $140,000 and will begin in Race 5 to capture the final six Thoroughbred races of the season. Racing dates for 2021 will be approved and announced by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission in December.
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