ELMONT, NY – The Elkstone Group’s Social Paranoia closed strongly in the stretch to seal the deal in Saturday’s $150,000 Poker Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park.

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Breaking from post 5 under Jose Ortiz at 9/2 odds, Social Paranoia settled into stride and allowed much of the field to pass him as the field hit the backstretch. Dream Friend led the field’s lone mare Got Stormy through opening fractions of :24.50 and :49.28.

Ortiz sensed the pace quickening as the field entered the far turn and tipped Social Paranoia out four-wide in order to commence a rally. It took him a moment, but he was able to rally past Seismic Wave near the 1/16 pole.

The Todd Pletcher trainee crossed 1 length clear in a final time of 1:36.30 for the firm outer turf event.

Credit: NYRA

“It was a good trip,” said Ortiz, who previously won the Poker with King Kreesa (2015) and Oscar Performance (2018). “I knew they were going slow, but he was very relaxed. When we made our move, I had to go wide because they were going so slow. I knew everyone was going to have a really good run to the end, but when I passed the 1/8 pole, he was going really nice. He put his head down and rolled home.”

The 5/2 favorite Value Proposition was gaining in the middle of the lane but had to steady slightly to avoid running up on Got Stormy, ultimately defeating her by a 1/2-length. Dream Friend dead-heated with Hawkish for fifth, a neck ahead of Eons, while Valid Point completed the order of finish.

Its All Relevant was a Main Track Only entry.

Social Paranoia’s win was his first since taking the Appleton Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park in March and improved his overall record to 15-4-4-5. The 4-year-old Street Boss colt, purchased for $75,000 as a yearling, has now earned $929,710.

“I thought we were a tick further back than I thought we would be and they were going a tick slower than I had hoped,” said Pletcher, who captured the 2014 Poker with Jack Milton. “I thought we made a mistake last time in trying to use him a little bit early on to get into position from the outside post going a mile and 1/8. He showed us in his first start back at Gulfstream that he just wants to settle and make one run. Jose executed the plan very well and it was a good performance.”

Social Paranoia returned $11.80 to win, $6 to place, and $3.10 to show. Seismic Wave brought back $6.40 to place and $3.40 to show, while Value Proposition paid $2.70 to show.