Juddmonte Farm's SET PIECE rallied from the back of the pack, knifed his way through traffic, and got up in the last sixteenth to capture Saturday's $300K Wise Dan Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs.
"He's a very nice horse," winning jockey Florent Geroux said. "No matter where he comes from, inside or outside, he always seems to rally late. Turning for home, he gave me his best run. I'm very proud of this horse and I think this year is the best we've seen from him."
SET PIECE broke evenly and took his place toward the rear of the field, about fifteen lengths off of pacesetter SOMELIKEITHOTBROWN, who led through opening quarters of 24.18 and 47.94.
Along the backstretch, SET PIECE was ambling along in ninth, unhurried, still more than fifteen lengths off the lead. Turning for home, with the field now racing in closer order, Florent Geroux has plenty of horses underneath him, but a wall of rivals before him. Was that going to stop SET PIECE? Not a chance!
SET PIECE sustains his momentum, even while altering paths at a second's notice. He splits rivals, dives down along the pine, then accelerates nicely to get past SOMELIKEITHOTBROWN in the final yards — all while in under strong hand urging.
SOMELIKEITHOTBROWN held on for second, RIDE A COMET got up for third. The final time for the one mile and one-sixteenth was 1:40.50.
SET PIECE paid $5.40 to win, $3.40 to place, and $2.40 to show. He is by DANSILI out of PORTADORA by KINGMAMBO. He notches his first graded stakes victory for trainer Brad Cox, makes it three wins in a row, and pushes his earnings to $433,744.
"A lot of credit goes to the Juddmonte team, who kept this horse in training at 5 years old," winning trainer Brad Cox said. "Today he was able to get by a very good horse late. We're very proud of him. Flo gave a great ride and saved as much ground as possible."
Source: Equibase, BloodHorse Staff