News and STORIES

Social Paranoia Sets Record In Dueling Grounds Derby

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Tuesday September 10, 2019
The Elkstone Group's Social Paranoia won the $600,000 Exacta Systems Dueling Grounds Derby by a half-length ahead of Ry's the Guy on Sunday. He broke the record with a time of 2:08.50 for the 1 5/16-mile race. The previous course record was set one race earlier by Princesa Carolina in the Dueling Grounds Oaks at 2:08.85. 

The Dueling Grounds was Social Paranoia's first stakes victory. He finished in a close second in the Grade 1 Belmont Derby, and he finished third in three graded stakes prior to that. His last start was in the Saratoga Derby Invitational where he finished fourth. 

"He's always trained like a nice horse, always run well on both surfaces," said trainer Todd Pletcher, who won last year's Dueling Grounds Derby with Channel Cat. "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, the 3-year-old son of Street Boss, ran on dirt in his first four races. It took him six starts until he won a race at Gulfstream Park. He entered into the race as the odds-on favorite, but it was by no means an easy win. 

"Lovely trip all the way around there," Ortiz said. "He relaxed well, that's the most important thing. He got up the hill beautiful, down the hill beautiful, and then I had to work my way out from the three-eighths pole to the quarter pole, follow the two leaders. Finally, I knew when Chris (Landeros, on Ry's the Guy) would make his horse to switch leads, I would have an opening."

The Running of the Dueling Grounds 

Temple, the 23-1 long shot and Mike Maker-trained horse, took the lead early under Geroux. He stayed in the front through the first turn, and he was being trailed by the 10-1 Ry's the Guy and Social Paranoia with a half-mile in 49.87. 

As the field went into the backstretch and turn, Temple continued to lead in front with Ry's the Guy following and Social Paranoia battling for third with Bad Boy. 

Temple shot for home after a mile in 1:37.67, but Social Paranoia took control inside the furlong marker. He moved past Ry's the Guy by a half-length and Temple by three-quarters of a length in the last strides. 

"I had a great trip, perfect trip, ran hard," Landeros said. "First time going long like this might have gotten to him a little bit late. I think we're on the right track. This one (Social Paranoia) has had a little experience going those longer distances than me. Might have been the difference today. But I'm pretty excited."

Bundibunan finished in fourth by a nose, with the rest of the field following in the order of Journeyman, Kid Lemuel, Armistice Day, Limonite, Channel Island, and Bad Boy. 

It was Social Paranoia's second win in 11 starts. He also has four second-place finishes and four thirds. The winner's share of the race was $353,400, so Social Paranoia's career earnings are now at $780,100. 

"He's only actually been out of the placings once, when he was fourth in the Saratoga Derby in his last start," assistant trainer Amelia Green said. "But he trained over it the other day, and he loved it. He had his ears pricked. So I said to Jose when he got on him, 'He loved this track when he galloped over it, so I don't think you'll have any problems.'"

Social Paranoia returned $3 to win, $2.60 to place, and $2.40 to show. Ry's the Guy paid $6.20 to place and $6 to show, while Temple brought back $7.80 to show.