Piedi Bianchi puts her best foot forward in $120K Smart N Fancy

August 21, 2021

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Jay Oringer, Jack Bick, Al Bianchi Racing, Adam Bayroff and Mike Maturo’s Piedi Bianchi notched her first career turf win in Saturday’s $120,000 Smart N Fancy, a 5 ½-furlong Mellon turf sprint for older fillies and mares at Saratoga Race Course.

Trained by Carlos Martin, the 6-year-old Overanalyze mare, making just her fifth appearance on turf in 26 starts, demonstrated a strong turn-of-foot under Tyler Gaffalione down the lane to overtake pacesetter Robin Sparkles and post a 2 1/4-length score.

Robin Sparkles, with Jose Ortiz up, surged to the lead with Piedi Bianchi tracking in second position as Lead Guitar saved ground under Luis Saez in third through a quarter mile in 23.09 seconds on the yielding turf.

Piedi Bianchi edged closer to the pacesetter late in the turn as Lead Guitar waited patiently for racing room along the hedge through a half-mile in 46.93. Robin Sparkles, the 4-5 mutuel favorite, attempted to open up on her rivals once straightened for home but was soon overtaken by Piedi Bianchi, who powered home in a final time of 1:04.95.

Lead Guitar squeezed up the rail to complete the exacta by 2 1/4-lengths over Robin Sparkles with Hydra, who leapt at the start and trailed throughout, completing the field. Pacific Gale was scratched.

Piedi Bianchi made a pair of starts on turf last year, including a fourth-place finish in the My Charmer in December at Gulfstream Park. She finished a prominent second in the Grade 3 Intercontinental sprinting seven furlongs over the Belmont grass in June.

Martin credited his owners for persisting with turf ambitions in Piedi Bianchi’s 2021 campaign.

“I give the owners credit. When she went to Florida last year, I asked ‘Do you really want to run this mare on the turf? She’s so good on the dirt’,” Martin said. “We got back together and we ran her on the turf and she ran a big second in the Intercontinental. Today, she just loved the going. It made a big difference. The other horses are great horses. I’m not taking anything away from our victory, but it worked out perfectly for us today.”

Gaffalione secured his fifth stakes score of the meet, adding to a ledger that includes wins in the Coronation Cup [Goin’ Good], Grade 3 Troy [Fast Boat], Grade 1 Fourstardave [Got Stormy] and Skidmore [Averly Jane].

“Out of the gate, I took a nice hold and was getting over the ground well,” Gaffalione said. “Coming into the stretch, when I asked her, she gave me everything she had. She really relished the course today.

“It was a nice tempo in front of us,” he added. “It gave us a nice target and when I asked, she finished up well.”

The victory marked the fourth career stakes win for the Indiana-bred, who previously captured the 2018 and 2020 editions of the Frances Slocum at Indiana Grand and last year’s Correction at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Out of the Tactical Cat mare Adore You, Piedi Bianchi is a half-sibling to 3-year-old colt Outadore, by Outwork, who is a stakes winner on turf and synthetic and finished third in last year’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Keeneland.

Piedi Bianchi banked $66,000 in victory while improving her record to 26-7-6-5. She returned $11.80 for a $2 win ticket.

Live racing resumes Sunday at Saratoga with a 10-race card featuring the $120,000 Summer Colony, a nine-furlong main track event for older fillies and mares who have not won a graded stakes race in 2021. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.

Saratoga Race Course Press Release

Photo: Piedi Bianchi, (Chris Rahayel Photo)

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