ELMONT, NY – Steve Landers’ Pole Setter broke very sharply out of the gate and never looked back, taking the field from gate to wire in an impressive return to turf to win Saturday’s $100,000 Paradise Creek Stakes at Belmont Park.
Breaking like a rocket from post 4 under Luis Saez at 4/1 odds, Pole Setter immediately took a length advantage over the field before posting opening fractions of :23.21 and :46.21. Still running smoothly along the inside as he rounded the far turn, Pole Setter was put down for the drive as he straightened for home and responded gamely.
Under a vigorous hand ride, the Brad Cox trainee hit the wire with a 1 1/4-length advantage in a final time of 1:20.77 for the 7-furlong event over the firm turf course.
“He was fully prepared for this,” Saez said. “I could feel it. He felt super good. He broke well and was rolling in a good spot, he was comfortable. When he came into the stretch, he just took off.”
Pulsate employed a good kick off of the far turn to rally from last to second by 3/4 of a length over Strike Silver. Another 1/2-length back came Mucho, making his turf debut after an unsuccessful Triple Crown trail attempt, with Uncapped another 1/2-length behind him. The 4/5 favorite Fog of War, making his first start since winning the Summer Stakes (G1) at Woodbine last September, was awkward out of the gate and faded in the stretch run to finish a disappointing sixth. Ian Glass was never a factor and completed the order of finish. Dunph was a trainer scratch.
Pole Setter’s win was his second straight following a Keeneland allowance score and was his first time back on turf since breaking his maiden over it at first asking last August and then finishing sixth in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Stakes a month later. The 3-year-old son of Speightstown improved his record to 9-3-0-5 with $178,700 earned.
“I saw the race came up a few weeks ago and I didn’t have many options with him,” Cox said. “We shipped him up there and he settled in well. It was a step up for him, but it worked out well. We’ll look at the national stakes book and see what there is for him – dirt or turf.”
Pole Setter returned $10.80 to win, $6.10 to place, and $4.40 to show. Pulsate brought back $9.60 to place and $7.30 to show, while Strike Silver paid $5 to show.