Horse Racing

Late Sweeping Charge Leads Set Piece To Dinner Party Stakes Victory


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Set Piece wins the G2 Dinner Party Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.

With a sweeping move from the outside deep in the Pimlico Race Course stretch, Set Piece pulled the tablecloth out from under the late leaders to win the Grade 2 Dinner Party Stakes on Saturday’s Preakness Stakes undercard.

The 6-year-old Dansili gelding was unhurried out of the gate by jockey Florent Geroux, who allowed Set Piece to settle in second to last, while English Bee, Atone, and Tango Tango Tango vied for the early lead passing under the wire for the first time.

Atone took control of the pace heading into the first turn from the outside of Atone, clocking the opening quarter in :23.44 seconds. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. let Atone get comfortable on the lead, and they distanced from the rest of the field through the turn and heading into the backstretch. They maintained a 3 1/2-length advantage over English Bee after passing the half-mile mark in :47.81 seconds. Set Piece remained near the back of the pack across the back straightaway, but he kept contact with the field as it settled together.

The running order went largely unchanged as Atone led the field into the final turn, and through three-quarters in 1:12.56. Geroux had kept Set Piece well off the rail up to the stretch drive, but he swung his mount even wider as they entered the straightaway, and by the time they took aim at the lead at the top of the stretch, they were five-wide.

Atone remained clear of his rivals under urging from Ortiz as they passed the three-sixteenths pole, and he remained in front with a furlong to go. However, Set Piece gained considerable ground on the outside as Geroux pushed his mount forward, and he got his head in front at the sixteenth pole. Atone had no answer for the challenge, and Set Piece carried on to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Tango Tango Tango, who carried on for second after a steady run. Tango Tango Tango finished a neck ahead of Atone.

Set Piece completed the 1 1/16-mile Dinner Party in 1:41.64 over a firm Pimlico turf course. He paid $6.20 to win as the post time favorite.

Set Piece races as a homebred for Juddmonte Farms, and he was trained by Brad Cox.

Saturday’s Dinner Party victory propelled Set Piece to his 10th career win in 20 starts, and improved his earnings to $697,823. It marks a continued renaissance for the British-born horse, who competed in the 2019 British 2,000 Guineas, and was relocated to the U.S. a year later.

The Dinner Party was the second start of 2022 for Set Piece after he finished seventh in the G1 Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland in April, just two lengths off winner Shirl’s Speight. It was his first win since last June, when he employed a similar closing kick to take the G2 Wise Dan Stakes at Churchill Downs.

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