09/17/2016 5:51PM

The Pizza Man prevails by neck in Northern Dancer Turf

Michael Burns
The Pizza Man, with Flavien Prat aboard, takes the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario — A rejuvenated The Pizza Man got up in the final strides to take the Grade 1, $301,800 Northern Dancer Turf on the Woodbine Mile undercard Saturday.

World Approval set a pedestrian pace in the 12-furlong marathon, while being stalked by The Pizza Man and Button Down. The field began to bunch up entering the stretch, and the favored Wake Forest emerged from the pack to take a dead aim at the leaders in the final furlong. The Pizza Man ($13.10) dug in late to prevail by a neck over Wake Forest, as World Approval weakened to finish another neck back in third.

Over a course labeled “good,” the final time was 2:31.75.

“There was no pace,” said winning jockey Flavien Prat. “He was just comfortable near the lead, so that was fine for me. I was really happy the whole trip. When the leader picked it up turning for home, I thought I couldn’t catch him, but when [Wake Forest] came up on my outside, that helped me to pass him.”

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The Pizza Man, a 7-year-old gelding by English Channel, earned $180,000 in his first win of the year for Midwest Thoroughbreds and trainer Roger Brueggemann.

The European invader Majeed rallied from eighth and last to finish fourth. He was followed by Danish Dynaformer, Camp Creek, Button Down, and Big Blue Kitten.