Photo: Hollywood Park
Trainer Henry Moreno, 81, hopes to spring an upset with Spud Spivens in the $150,000 Swaps Stakes, a Grade II test for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8
miles on Cushion Track Saturday.
Moreno hopes for more pace in the Swaps than there was in
the Affirmed Handicap June 11, when Spud Spivens finished third. “This is a
come-from-behind horse,” said Moreno
from his Santa Anita headquarters Wednesday. “The further they go, the better
Moreno seeks his first graded stakes win in 18 years, when
Re Toss upset champion Paseana here in the 1993 Vanity Handicap. Moreno, who currently
conditions nine horses, trained such standouts as Tizna, Sangue, Lite Light,
Jalousie, Bastonera and Sam Who.
Moreno, who began as a quarter horse trainer, named Spud
Spivens after a quarter horse he conditioned during the 1960’s. Bob Moreno,
Henry’s cousin who works as a placing and patrol judge on the Southern
California circuit, recalled that the original Spud Spivens was
17-1 hands and turned out to be a better jumper than runner.
The second Spud Spivens, a California-bred gelding by
Tizbud, has blossomed at the current meet with a maiden score, an allowance win
and the third-place finish in the Affirmed.
“If J.O. Tobin can beat Seattle Slew in the Swaps, then Spud
Spivens can beat the Baffert barn,” said Bob Moreno. J.O. Tobin won the 1978
Swaps, with previously unbeaten Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew fourth in one
of the biggest upsets in track history.
Hall of Fame trainer
Bob Baffert will send out heavily favored Coil, winner of the Affirmed, and
Uncle Sam in quest of a record fifth Swaps victory. A field of six was entered
for the Swaps, which will go as the fourth race.