05/06/2017 4:43PM

Cake Pop enjoys return to favorite track in Tall Stacks

Coady Photography
Cake Pop wins the Tall Stack Stakes at Belterra Park on Saturday.

Horse-for-the-course Cake Pop remained perfect in three starts at Belterra Park in Cincinnati with a dominant victory in Saturday’s $75,000 Tall Stacks Stakes for Ohio-bred 3-year-olds.

Last season, Cake Pop won his career debut at Belterra and followed up with a score in the 5 1/2-furlong Hoover Stakes. He returned to his favorite track Saturday after losses as the favorite at odds of 2-1 and even-money at Mahoning Valley Race Course.

Ridden for the first time by Marcelino Pedroza for trainer Michael Lauer, Cake Pop ($13), a son of Notional owned by Penny Lauer, was fourth, but only about two lengths behind, after an opening half-mile in 45.38 seconds. He rallied down the center of a track upgraded from muddy to good to move a half-length in front of Strike Your Light with a furlong remaining, and drew clear by four lengths, completing 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.44. Strike Your Light, making his first start since finishing last of 11 in the John Battaglia on Turfway Park’s Polytrack,  finished second. Fireupthejet nosed out Hansenation for third.

Coincidentally never threatened and finished sixth as the 8-5 favorite.

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Cake Pop is now 4 for 9 with earnings of $148,490.