The Elkstone Group’s Social Paranoia took the overland route when rallying to a second graded stakes win this season in Saturday’s $150,000 Poker Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park on Saturday.
Social Paranoia had just one horse beaten in the one-mile Poker as Dream Friend set moderate fractions of :24.50 and :49.28 for the opening half mile with Got Stormy and Valid Point stalking the pace.
After six furlongs reached in 1:13.07, the three front-runners and Seismic Wave were among a quartet of horses lined up on the lead when turning from home. Seismic Wave first managed to wrest the lead in mid-stretch, but rolling along the outside came Social Paranoia and jockey Jose Ortiz, who kicked clear and won going away.
“I think the soft ground helped a little bit today,” Ortiz said. “He’s good at a mile, a mile and a sixteenth, a mile and an eighth. He can do whatever because he relaxes early, which is the most important thing in these turf races.”