December 5, 2022

Moreno the one to catch in Woodward; Clearly Now, Palace head Forego

Last updated: 8/27/14 5:04 PM


Moreno the one to catch in Woodward; Clearly Now, Palace
head Forego











Moreno was never seriously threatened winning the Whitney and
can boost his Horse of the Year credentials with another
tour-de-force performance Saturday

(NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photo)

Whitney winner Moreno will seek his second straight Grade 1 tally at
Saratoga when he
lines up for Saturday’s $600,000
Woodward.
The four-year-old gelding tops a field of 10 that includes seven-times stakes
hero Itsmyluckyday and Suburban H. winner Zivo.

The 1 1/8-mile event lost some luster when Palace Malice and Will Take Charge
were removed from consideration in recent weeks, but the Woodward could still
have serious ramifications in the Eclipse Award races. Moreno tossed
his hat into the ring with the dominant Whitney score, defeating both
aforementioned rivals with ease as he led wire to wire for a 1 1/4-length
decision, and the Eric Moreno-trained son of Ghostzapper registered a 107 BRIS
Speed rating.

“(Two-time Horse of the Year) Wise Dan’s just getting started, right?”
Guillot said, handicapping who he perceives as the Horse of the Year leaders.
“Palace Malice has got the Met Mile under his belt and Grade 2s other than that,
right? The three-year-old, California Chrome, won the first two legs (of the
Triple Crown); what he does when he comes back is going to be important.

“What I do from this day forward is going to be important. Shared Belief has
us beaten (after winning the Pacific Classic), but Game On Dude is a
tired old horse on the synthetic, so (Shared Belief’s) got to do more.”



Moreno breezed five furlongs in :59 1/5, the fastest of 46 workers at the
distance last weekend in advance of the Woodward. He picks up five pounds off the Whitey, spotting weight to all foes under
a 122-pound impost, and will be the one to catch with a returning Junior
Alvarado.

“The Woodward is just another journey,” Guillot said. “This horse is better
doing 30-30-30 days (between races) and training light in between and working
him like I do. He’s a fresh horse. He’s not tired by any means.”

Itsmyluckyday will seek to improve one spot after finishing a clear second in
the Whitney. Runner-up in both the Preakness and Florida Derby last season, the
Lawyer Ron colt reeled off three consecutive listed stakes wins before making
his Saratoga debut last time. Trainer Ed Plesa Jr. adds blinkers and the dark
bay could show more early speed from his innermost post position with regular
rider Paco Lopez.

“I think maybe we can fine-tune him a little bit, maybe focus him down the
lane,” Plesa said of the new headgear. “Sometimes, horses need a little
something to shake them up. I don’t think Moreno is going to have his own way in
this race, for whatever reason, whether it’s me or somebody else. Jockeys get
paid a lot of money to ride these horses; they need to know how fast the horses
are going in front of them.

“(Moreno) won the (Whitney) — no ifs, ands or buts. He’s the horse to beat.”

Zivo brings a six-race win streak into the Woodward. Conditioned by Chad
Brown, the surging New York-bred stepped up to face open rivals with a monstrous
performance in the July 5 Suburban, rallying up the rail to win going away at
13-1, and earned a career-best 104 Speed rating. The five-year-old son of True
Direction returns off a 56-day freshening and will be running late with Jose
Lezcano.










Palace established himself
as a serious contender for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in the
Vanderbilt and will attempt to carry his momentum forward


 (NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photo)

“We just tried to give him more time,” Brown said of the decision to bypass
the Whitney. “He’s doing really well. He needs some pace to run at. I would
expect (Itsmyluckyday) to engage Moreno a little sooner this time if he expects
to have a chance to win. If Itsmyluckyday lets him gallop around again, he’s not
going to beat him.”

Micromanage improved his mark to two for two at Saratoga an 8 1/2-length romp
in the August 7 Birdstone and the four-year-old colt also captured the Grade 3
Skip Away at Gulfstream Park earlier this season. The Todd Pletcher trainee will
cut back in distance with strong BRIS Speed and Late Pace numbers to his credit
and the son of Medaglia d’Oro receives a rider switch to Rajiv Maragh.

Other contenders include Brooklyn winner Norumbega; Grade 2 scorer Last
Gunfighter, who finished fifth in the Whitney for Brown; and multiple Grade 3 victor
Romansh.

One race earlier on the stakes-loaded program, the Grade 1, $500,000
Forego
features a nice group of 10 sprinters at seven furlongs.



Palace will pursue his second Grade 1 of the meet following his one-length
victory in the A.G. Vanderbilt on August 2 and the Linda Rice-trained horse also
impressively captured the Grade 2 True North at Belmont Park three starts back,
recording respective Speed ratings of 104 and 107 for those efforts. The
five-year-old son of City Zip sandwiched a runner-up in the Grade 3 Belmont
Sprint between those efforts and will resume his budding rivalry with Clearly
Now on Saturday. Cornelio Velasquez rides.

Clearly Now will make his first start since a superb 6 1/4-length score in
the Belmont Sprint, establishing a new track at Belmont Park when blitzing seven
furlongs in 1:19.96. The four-year-old son of Horse Greeley has been freshened
56 days in advance of this appearance by trainer Brian Lynch and will keep
Lezcano in the irons.

Grade 3 winner Falling Sky merits respect following his third in the
Vanderbilt, and Capo Bastone, a two-length winner of last year’s King’s Bishop
at Saratoga, is also entered. Weekend Hideaway and Big Business, the one-two
finishers in the restricted John Morrissey 15 days earlier, will both try open
rivals again.



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