Preps Talk

Special Delivery: The Pizza Man wins Arlington Million


Special Delivery: The Pizza Man wins Arlington Million

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) — Richard Papiese made his money selling store fixtures.

For several years, the Chicagoan also has been cashing in at the race track with a large and successful thoroughbred racing operation.

Saturday, Papiese scored big with The Pizza Man winning the Grade 1 Arlington Million. The 6-year-old gelding, ridden by Florent Geroux, beat Big Blue Kitten by a neck in Chicago-area racing's biggest race.

The Pizza Man became the first Illinois-bred to win the Million by coming up the middle to overhaul Big Blue Kitten with a sixteenth to go in the 1 1/4-mile turf.

"It's a very special horse that loves to win," Geroux said. "He knows where the wire is."

Geroux brought The Pizza Man from ninth place on a turf course softened by a downpour an hour before post time. Going four-wide around the far turn, he galloped through the field, then went by Shining Copper on the right just after Big Blue Kitten had passed on the left.

"It looked like he was struggling over the very soft track, but when I put him outside he grabbed the bit again and I was thinking, 'Oh boy, he's going for a big one here,'" Geroux said.

Then it was just a matter of catching the Kitten and hanging on.

"We knew he had the speed," trainer Roger Brueggemann said.

Big Blue Kitten came in second for the fourth time in six races, winning the other two.

"He didn't like the ground," jockey Joe Bravo said about Big Blue Kitten. "When Kitten kicks, he's a runner."

The Pizza Man paid $13.60, $6.60 and $4.60. Big Blue Kitten returned $4 and $3.20, and Shining Copper paid $11.60 to show.

The Pizza Man had been cross-entered in Saturday's American St. Leger, which he won last year, but Papiese decided to run him in the Million after a narrow victory in the Stars & Stripes last month. The victory in the Million answered local critics who believed the horse wasn't capable of winning a Grade 1 race.

Now, Papiese, $600,000 richer, is thinking of sending The Pizza Man to the Breeders' Cup at Keeneland.

"First I'll read the papers to see if he belongs there," Papiese said.

Irish-based horses swept the other graded stakes.

Watsdachances edged Stephanie's Kitten by a neck in the Grade 1 Beverly D for fillies after Secret Gesture, the first horse to finish, was disqualified for interfering with Stephanie's Kitten in the stretch. Watsdachances had come from off the pace in the final quarter-mile of the 1 3/16-mile race. Secret Gesture was moved back to third.

Highland Reel ran away to a 5 1/4-length victory in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes. Closing Bell was second by a head over Force The Pass, which broke from the gate slowly in the 1 1/4-mile turf test. It was Highland Reel's second straight win and first in the U.S.

Lucky Speed took the lead with a sixteenth remaining to capture the Grade 3 1 11/16-mile American St. Leger by three-quarters of a length over Britain's Panama Hat.

High School Lites Football Roundup Week 9

High School Lites Football Roundup Week 9

High School Lites is back with an exciting Week 9 full of thrilling matchups. NBC Sports Chicago has the highlights of some of the top matchups from Friday's games.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @NBCSPREPS for all of the latest IHSA football scores and highlights.

DRIVE: Batavia (episode 9)

TEAM OF THE WEEK: Oak Forest football

VIEWERS' CHOICE GAMES OF THE WEEK: Fremd runs past Schaumburg

WINTRUST ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Notre Dame running back Ty Gavin


(1) Lincoln-Way East 31, (16) Bolingbrook 0

(2) Batavia 24, Wheaton North 13

(3) Brother Rice 31, (17) Montini 0

(4) Marist 24, Benet 7

(6) Homewood-Flossmoor 56, Sandburg 0

(7) Cary-Grove 55, (15) Naperville Central 41

(9) Nazareth Academy 42, Marian Catholic 6

(10) Maine South 48, Niles West 6

(11) Oswego 22, Plainfield South 15

(12) Richards 41, Eisenhower 6

(13) Phillips 41, Raby 0

(14) Willowbrook 42, Downers South 20

(18) Oak Park-River Forest 48, Lyons 0

(19) Warren 43, Mundelein 7

(20) Glenbard West 35, Proviso West 6

(21) Hillcrest 43, Bremen 6

Joliet Catholic 33, (22) Notre Dame 17

(23) Hinsdale Central 21, Hinsdale South 12

(24) Rolling Meadows 34, Buffalo Grove 7

Wheaton Warrenville South 13, (25) St. Charles North 11


Payton 43, Kenwood 42

Coal City 43, Lisle 14

Huntley 55, Dundee-Crown 12

Perspectives 32, Solorio 16


Fenwick vs. (5) Mount Carmel 

(8) Simeon vs. Curie

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Can the Bears pull off an upset at home against Tom Brady and the Patriots?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Can the Bears pull off an upset at home against Tom Brady and the Patriots?

Chris Emma, Matt Zahn and Gabe Ramirez join David Kaplan on the panel.

0:00- NBC Sports National NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh joins the panel to discuss the Bulls’ terrible defensive performance as well as Zach LaVine’s impressive season debut.

11:35- Khalil Mack is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Patriots. Can the Bears pull off the upset against Tom Brady?

23:50- NBC Sports Boston Patriots insider Tom E. Curran joins Kap to talk about how New England views the Bears and discuss how Matt Nagy’s team can exploit the Patriots’ weaknesses.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below.