Set Piece a comfortable winner of the Arlington under Florent Geroux (JennyPhoto/Past The Wire)
Churchill Downs Press Release
LOUISVILLE, Ky.— Juddmonte scored a stakes double Saturday at Churchill Downs when their venerable 7-year-old homebred gelding Set Piece (GB) collared pacesetter Get Smokin with a sixteenth of a mile to run and comfortably won Saturday’s 87th running of the $206,750 Arlington Stakes (Grade III) by one length.
One race earlier, Idiomatic won the $224,750 Shawnee (Grade III). Florent Geroux rode both winners for trainer Brad Cox.
A multiple graded stakes winner across North America, Set Piece ran 1 1/16 miles on “firm” turf in 1:42.42 to record his fifth victory beneath the Twin Spires and become racing’s newest millionaire. His most notable triumph came in last year’s $400,000 Wise Dan (GII).
Get Smokin, who also finished second in last year’s Arlington, dictated the terms through comfortable early splits of :24.16. :48.96 and 1:13.31. Not exactly a setup, the closer Set Piece, was last in the field of the six older horses before he tipped out with a five-wide move at the top of the stretch. He charged home with a powerful late kick and drove past Get Smokin at the sixteenth pole under a hand ride.
“He’s one of my favorite horses I’ve ridden,” Geroux said. “He has no early speed so it’s always tough in bigger fields because you can’t go super wide turning for home but if you stay too far on the inside you end up in trouble. He always tries hard and I’m so happy he was able to get a win today.”
Set Piece, off as the odds-on 3-5 favorite, paid $3.52, $2.82 and $2.26. Get Smokin, a 15-1 outsider under Ricardo Santana Jr., returned $7.20 and $3.80. Harlan Estate was another three-quarters of a length back in third under Declan Cannon at odds of 27 and paid $5.94 to show.
Classic Causeway, Royal Patronage (FR) and Kentucky Ghost completed the running order. Tiberius Mercurius was scratched.
Set Piece earned $122,760 for the win and improved his career record to 12-2-2 in 27 starts with earnings of $1,068,683.
“He’s a barn favorite of ours,” Cox said. “Juddmonte sent him over to our barn in North America a couple years ago and he’s knocked at the door of a Grade I in the past. Today he rallied strongly against a pace that wasn’t very fast at all. He loves it here at Churchill and we’re very proud of his win today.”
Set Piece, a son of Dansili (GB) out of the Kingmambo mare Portodora, was bred in Kentucky by his owner.