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LOUISVILLE, KY – Juddmonte Farms homebred Set Piece nailed loose-on-the-lead Somelikeithotbrown in the shadow of the wire to win Saturday’s $300,000 Wise Dan Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs.
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Sent from the rail as the 8/5 favorite under Florent Geroux, Set Piece trailed the field early as Somelikeithotbrown (the 2/1 second choice under Jose Ortiz) went straight to the front and posted opening fractions of :24.18, :47.94, and 1:11.70.
Somelikeithotbrown rounded the far turn still in command and looked like a runaway winner, but Set Piece weaved his way through the field with tenacity and shot up the rail inside the 1/8 pole to challenge the pacesetter.
Reaching the front late, the Brad Cox trianee crossed a 1/2-length clear while completing the firm 1 1/16-mile turf route in 1:40.50.
“He’s a very nice horse,” 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.”
Somelikeithotbrown was 1 1/2 lengths clear of a four-way photo for third that went to Ride a Comet over Field Pass, Kentucky Ghost, and Spooky Channel by a head, a neck, and a head, respectively.
Mutakatif, In Love, Hierarchy, and Super Sol completed the order of finish.
Set Piece’s win was his third straight, all over the local turf, following the Opening Verse Stakes and the Douglas Park Stakes. Now a graded stakes champion, the 5-year-old British-bred Dansili gelding improved his record to 16-9-1-1 with $433,744 earned.
“A lot of credit goes to the Juddmonte team, who kept this horse in training at 5 years old,” 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.”
Set Piece returned $5.40 to win, $3.40 to place, and $2.40 to show. Somelikeithotbrown brought back $3.80 to place and $2.80 to show. Ride a Comet paid $3 to show.
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