Zayat Stables’ Gidu didn’t disappoint as the 2-5 favorite, earning a victory in the $100,000 Paradise Creek for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs on the turf Saturday at Belmont Park.
Breaking from post 5 with Hall of Famer John Velazquez in the irons, Gidu stalked comfortably in third position as Masked led the field of six through quick fractions of 22.90 seconds for the opening quarter-mile with the half in 44.31.
As the field reached the quarter-pole, Gidu was shifted to the three path and took aim at Masked at the top of the stretch. All out and under a drive, Gidu passed the leader at the sixteenth-pole and extended away to the wire, holding off a late charging Curlin’s Honor to earn the victory by a neck.
He completed the distance in a final time of 1:20.44 on a firm Widener turf course.
“He hasn’t run in a while, so he was very keen today,” said Velazquez. “I knew he could be pretty strong, and he [was]. On the backstretch, I had fight him all the way to the three-eights pole. I finally put my hands down and he seemed to relax.”
Returning $2.90 for a $2 win wager, the victory boosted his career earnings to $166,000 improving the son of Frankel’s record to two wins from three starts this year and his second consecutive stakes win after capturing the Columbia on March 10 at Tampa Bay Downs.
“He was a little fresh,” said winning Todd Pletcher. “Johnny said he was a little keener around, but it went pretty well overall. He did what we were hoping he’d do, and I’ll talk to Team Zayat about the next plan. But coming into this, we were thinking about going to [Royal] Ascot if this went well, and it went well enough to continue to pursue that. I thought it was a good race for a horse that hadn’t run in a while.”
Following Curlin’s Honor in second was Masked, Ambassador Jim and Black Stetson. Final Frontier, entered for the main track only, was scratched.
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