ELMONT, NY – It wasn’t easy, but Gidu was able to hold on and win Saturday’s $100,000 Paradise Creek Stakes at Belmont Park, and now could be on his way to Royal Ascot for his next start.
Gidu stalked the early pace set by the Bob Baffert trained Masked as he quickly blazed through opening fractions of 22.90 seconds for the opening quarter-mile with the half in 44.31. Turing for home he made his move on the front runner, but the battle was on as Masked did not give up the lead easily. The Zayat Stables owned colt by Frankel was able to wear down Masked late, though, while holding off a late charge from the closing Curlin’s Honor to win by a neck.
“He hasn’t run in a while, so he was very keen today,” said Velazquez. “I knew he could be pretty strong, and he [was]. On the backstretch, I had fight him all the way to the three-eights pole. I finally put my hands down and he seemed to relax.”
With this win Gidu will now likely point to Royal Ascot for his next start. Being a son of Frankel, the trip overseas will be a meaningful one for the horse. Gidu stopped the clocked at 1:20.44 for the seven furlong race on the Widener turf course.
The win brings his career earnings to $166,000. He has won two of three starts this year, and two stakes victories as he also won the Columbia Stakes on March 10 at Tampa Bay Downs.
“He was a little fresh,” said winning Todd Pletcher. “Johnny said he was a little keener around, but it went pretty well overall. He did what we were hoping he’d do, and I’ll talk to Team Zayat about the next plan. But coming into this, we were thinking about going to [Royal] Ascot if this went well, and it went well enough to continue to pursue that. I thought it was a good race for a horse that hadn’t run in a while.”
Gidu returned $2.90 to win, $2.40 to place, and $2.10 to show. Curlin’s Honor brought back $3.60 to place and $2.30 to show, while Masked paid $2.70 to show.