As the runner-up in the Belmont Derby (G1) and fourth in the Saratoga Derby, Social Paranoia would have fit in the concluding leg of NYRA’s Turf Triple, the Jockey Club Derby on Saturday. Instead trainer Todd Pletcher rerouted the consistent sophomore to Sunday’s $600,000 Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs, where he ranked as the 1-2 favorite and earned a stakes breakthrough in course-record time.
In a neat piece of symmetry, Social Paranoia lowered the 1 5/16-mile mark that had just been set by Princesa Carolina, who brought a similar “bridesmaid” profile as the 4-5 favorite in the $348,250 Dueling Grounds Oaks. The pair worked out different trips for stakes-sweeping jockey Jose Ortiz.
The Elkstone Group’s Social Paranoia took up a stalking position from his rail post, nestled just behind early leader Temple. Pace-tracking Ry’s the Guy accosted Temple as they wended their way into the stretch. Ortiz was able to steer the favorite out into the clear to offer his rally, and Social Paranoia drove to a half-length decision over Ry’s the Guy. Temple hung on for third by a nose from Bundibunan, who encountered more difficulty trying to find room. Journeyman closed from last to take fifth in the 10-horse field.
Social Paranoia clocked 2:08.50, eclipsing Princesa Carolina’s 2:08.85 from the race prior. Both the Dueling Grounds Derby and Oaks were hand timed.
Bred by Mineola Farm II and Silent Grove Farm in Kentucky, Social Paranoia sold for $75,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling. The dark bay has bankrolled $780,100 from his 11-2-4-4 record. After placing in four straight maidens, including to Casa Creed and Forty Under, and adding a third to the latter in the Pilgrim (G3), Social Paranoia romped by eight lengths in a March 30 maiden at Gulfstream Park. He resumed his minor awards when third in the American Turf (G2) and Pennine Ridge (G3) en route to NYRA’s Turf Triple.
The son of Street Boss and the Deputy Minister mare Shutterbug is a full brother to Dekabrist, winner of a non-black-type stakes and a 4 1/2-furlong track record-setter on the Gulfstream dirt. Their dam is a half to multiple Grade 3 scorer Fantastic Fellow from the family of 1980 Epsom Derby (G1) champion Henbit and Grade 1 winners Mr Purple and Queens Court Queen.
Princesa Carolina sports a terrific pedigree as a daughter of Tapit and multiple Grade 1 star Pure Clan, but she is the first of her dam’s three runners (from five racing-age offspring) to display stakes quality. Trained by Ken McPeek, the Three Chimneys homebred had been knocking on the proverbial door when collecting four stakes placings. She often shaped like one wanting more distance, and she got it in the Dueling Grounds Oaks.
Anchored in eighth of nine through the initial stages, Princesa Carolina bided her time as Indigo Gin, who’d edged her in the Hatoof two back, set a pressured pace. Ortiz guided Princesa Carolina out wide into the stretch, and the big gray rumbled to the front. Wildlife, the early trailer, followed her but could get no nearer than 1 1/2 lengths at the wire. High Regard weaved her way through rivals to take third, and Indigo Gin tired to fourth.
Princesa Carolina’s scorecard stands at 11-3-3-1, $403,619. Unlike dam Pure Clan, who captured graded stakes on dirt and chased Eight Belles at Oaklawn Park before excelling on turf, Princesa Carolina has thrown in her two worst efforts on the main track. She broke her maiden in her first turf try at Saratoga last summer and finished a traffic-compromised fifth behind Concrete Rose in the Jessamine (G2).
A rallying second to Cambier Parc in the Herecomesthebride (G3) in her sophomore bow, Princesa Carolina was third to The Mackem Bullet and Regal Glory in the Appalachian (G2). She appreciated a step up to 1 3/16 miles to land an entry-level Keeneland allowance but regressed to a wide-trip eighth in the Regret (G3). At Arlington in her last two, she missed by a head in the aforementioned Hatoof and placed second in the Pucker Up (G3) on Million Day.
Princesa Carolina counts as her fourth dam champion sprinter What a Summer, whose other descendants include Grade 1 heroines Finley’sluckycharm and Sky Diva as well as Grade 2 victor Greater Good, a half-brother to Pure Clan.