Piedi Bianchi is one of the best racehorses to hail from the Hoosier state. Her exploits on the racetrack garnered a loving fanbase and cemented her name in Indiana horse racing history. Twice during her racing journey Piedi Bianchi crossed paths with another exceptional mare, Expect Indy. Though no one knew it at the time, these mare's lives would one day intertwine.
Piedi Bianchi was a standout from day one, her physique and personality hinting at the success that she was destined to achieve. The Indiana-bred mare lived up to that promise from the beginning; she was one of the best juvenile fillies in California in 2017, twice coming close to Grade 1 glory, first with a 2nd in the Del Mar Debutante Stakes and then with a 3rd in the Chandelier Stakes.
Those good performances in Grade 1 company were enough to earn Piedi Bianchi a spot in the starting gates for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, joining her fellow Indiana native Bucchero, who would be contesting in the Turf Sprint that same year, as the first Indiana-bred horses to run in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
The Juvenile Fillies had the largest field Piedi Bianchi had ever competed in and though she had some momentum at the top of the stretch, traffic troubles prevented her from finishing better than 5th. Although neither Piedi Bianchi nor Bucchero won their respective Breeders’ Cup races that day, it was still a monumental moment for their home state’s breeding program - proof that horses capable of performing at the sport’s highest level could come from Indiana.
After ending her juvenile season with a 3rd in the Starlet Stakes (G1), Piedi Bianchi was sent to New York to join Todd Pletcher’s stable. She placed in two allowances and finished off the board in the Alabama (G1) against the likes of Midnight Bisou before making the trek to the Hoosier state to compete in the Frances Slocum Stakes. It was then that she first met a tough, bay filly named Expect Indy.
Expect Indy is two years Piedi’s senior and an undeniably good racehorse. She may never have competed at the level that Piedi Bianchi did, but she was consistent and tenacious. Expect Indy was already a stakes winner when the field lined up in the starting gates at the Shelbyville, Indiana track, a feat that the younger filly had not yet achieved.
The setting sun cast a golden light on the dirt oval, illuminating the field as they tore down the backstretch and around the far turn. Piedi Bianchi and Expect Indy soared down the top of the stretch and into the shadow of the grandstand side by side, a hint at the life they would live just a few years later. Expect Indy fought valiantly, but Piedi Bianchi proved too tough for her; the grey mare put away her older rival and crossed the wire 2 ½ lengths in front. Expect Indy finished well ahead of the rest of the field.
It was a glorious homecoming for Piedi Bianchi, yet her performance in the Frances Slocum was followed by two off-the-board finishes and it wasn’t long before an injury was discovered. Some of her owners wanted to retire her but owner Jay Orginer refused; she was the first racehorse he had ever purchased and he had no intentions of selling her. He knew she still possessed untapped potential, so he sent his prized filly to WinStar Farm to recover.
Piedi Bianchi returned to the races one year later and quickly proved that Orginer was right to believe in her; she won her first race back, an Allowance at Aqueduct, which prepared her for an exhilarating, close win in the Correction Stakes about two months later. In the Summer she finished 3rd behind Monomoy Girl in the Ruffian (G3), her fourth graded placing in her career.
She returned to Horseshoe Indianapolis in September to prepare for the track’s lucrative fall stakes. She bested her co-favorite Krunch, a horse also produced by Piedi’s breeders Deann and Greg Baer, DVM, in an Allowance. Krunch, however, got the best of Piedi Bianchi in the six furlong Merrillville Stakes in their next start.
The two were slated to meet again in the Frances Slocum, but Krunch ended up scratched. Piedi was still faced with stiff competition from Fireball Baby, who was 5th in the Merrillville but had won the Lady Fog Horn Stakes at the same 1 1/16 mile distance of the Frances Slocum. Her second biggest threat was Expect Indy, who made her work to win the Frances Slocum two years prior.
While Piedi Bianchi had been injured and then racing in other states, Expect Indy had been wracking up stakes wins at the Indiana course. She had won the Shelby County Stakes at six furlongs and was twice victorious in the eight and a half furlong Richmond Stakes.
Ultimately, neither mare proved to be a threat to Piedi Bianchi; she flew down the stretch to win by 7 ½ lengths. Fireball Baby was 2nd, just a head in front of Expect Indy in 3rd.
It was the second and last time Piedi Bianchi and Expect Indy would face each other on the track, but the two mares were destined to meet again off it.
After the Frances Slocum, Piedi Bianchi had a chance to enjoy the warmer weather at Gulfstream Park where she finished 3rd in the Inside Information (G3). She returned to New York in May, first running 4th in the Vagrancy (G3) and then 2nd in the Intercontinental Stakes (G3) on the turf.
The placing showed Piedi Bianchi’s liking for the grass, so her connections took her to prestigious Saratoga to contest in the five and a half furlong Smart N Fancy Stakes. The six-year-old mare dominated the turf sprint by 2 ¼ lengths.
With her versatility proven, she again returned to Indiana, this time to compete in the Cardinal Stakes. A grey day greeted the grey mare for her homecoming. The skies opened with rain and Piedi Bianchi simultaneously opened up an untouchable lead; she splashed to the wire 4 ½ lengths in front.
The victory put her earnings just dollars behind Lady Fog Horn, who was the highest-earning Indiana-bred female at that point. One more race was all she needed; a $6,000 paycheck from a 5th place finish in the Autumn Days Stakes on the turf at Aqueduct cemented Piedi Bianchi’s name in Indiana horse racing history. Her total career earnings of $829,497 is just over $5,000 more than Lady Fog Horn earned in almost as many starts. The only Indiana bred to have earned more than Piedi is her fellow Breeders’ Cup participant Bucchero, who capped his career off at $947,936.
The Autumn Days Stakes was the last race of Piedi’s career. She had done it all: she had multiple G1 placings, competed on one of the sport’s biggest stages - the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, won stakes on dirt and turf at multiple distances, and had been named Indiana Horse of the Year in both 2020 and 2021.
Piedi Bianchi wasn’t the only talented Indiana-bred mare ready for retirement in 2021. Piedi’s owners had purchased Expect Indy, the mare she twice defeated in the Frances Slocum, earlier in the year. Expect Indy had won a total of four stakes and earned nearly $600,00 herself. The mares both traveled to Kentucky to begin a new chapter of their lives: motherhood.
In retirement, Piedi Bianchi and Expect Indy began developing a relationship. As their bellies grew with their first foals, their friendship grew too. On March 26, 2023, Piedi Bianchi gave birth to a beautiful filly by Uncle Mo. Two days later, Expect Indy foaled a handsome Runhappy colt.
Piedi Bianchi and Expect Indy live at a slice of paradise in Midway, Kentucky called Kismet Farms. Their babies are growing up side by side, racing and playing around the grassy paddocks as their moms watch over them and grow their next half-siblings - a Curlin for Piedi and a Mitole for Indy.
The mares and their foals receive the best care any horse could hope to receive. The dream is that Piedi Bianchi and Expect Indy’s babies will carry on their legacies by reaching even greater heights than their mothers did. With so much love and support surrounding them, they have a good chance of making those dreams come true.
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