FRANKLIN, KY – The Elkstone Group’s Social Paranoia waited until the right moment before striking his way through to the front to win Sunday’s $600,000 Exacta Systems Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs.
Breaking from the rail under Jose Ortiz as the 1/2 favorite, Social Paranoia sat less than 2 lengths behind the front-runners. Temple led the way, but Ry’s the Guy and Bad Boy were also in the mix.
Still in hand through the far turn, Social Paranoia waited until Ortiz shifted him out into the clear. Responding sharply when asked, Social Paranoia swept to the front and proved too tough to hold off. The Todd Pletcher trainee crossed a 1/2-length ahead in a track-record time of 2:08.50 for the 1 5/16-mile event over the firm turf course.
“Great job by Todd, and his team,” said Ortiz. “The horse was ready. I was just a passenger out there. I tried to give him the best trip I can, and that’s what I did.”
Ry’s the Guy held onto second over Temple, who fell off late but had enough to nose out a troubled-but-rallying Bundibunan at the wire. Journeyman was fifth over Kid Lemuel, while behind them came Armistice Day, Limonite, Channel Island, and an empty Bad Boy to complete the order of finish.
Social Paranoia’s win was his first since breaking his maiden at Gulfstream Park this past March and improved his overall record to 11-2-4-4. The 3-year-old son of Street Boss, whose first career off-the-board performance came last out in the Saratoga Derby, has now earned $780,100.
“He’s always trained like a nice horse, always run well on both surfaces,” Pletcher said. “He’s obviously been really holding up with top competition. We felt like he’d handle the course, hoped to get an inside draw and a good trip and it worked out.”
Social Paranoia returned $3 to win, $2.60 to place, and $2.40 to show. Ry’s the Guy brought back $6.20 to place and $6 to show, while Temple paid $7.80 to show.