Photo: Adam Mooshian, NYRA
Southern Equine Stable's Moreno,
front-running winner of the Whitney Stakes on August 2, tuned up Sunday
for a run this coming Saturday in the Grade 1, $600,000 Woodward with a
five-furlong breeze over the main track.
Jockey Junior Alvarado,
outfitted with a Go Pro camera on his helmet, worked Moreno five
furlongs in 59.28 seconds, fastest of 40 runners at the distance.
"Same like always, meaning he's just in cruise control," trainer Eric Guillot said afterward. "Easy."
Before giving him a leg up, Guillot told Alvarado to work five furlong in 59 seconds, and the jockey hit his mark perfectly.
"It looked like Junior
Alvarado saved his spot from Johnny V [Velazquez] taking over," Guillot
joked. "If he was one second off, he would have lost his mount for the
Guillot calls Moreno, a
4-year-old son of Ghostzapper, a "looky-loo" because he takes note of
everything as he goes around the track. Even wearing blinkers and ear
plugs for the work, Moreno kept moving his right ear around during the
workout, as if trying to hear if other horses were nearby.
"The more people out
there, the more activity, the less he tries," Guillot said. "He likes to
pay attention to everything else going on, but it was exactly what I
Alvarado liked what he felt under him.
"He worked pretty nice
the first part," Alvarado said. "He's kind of like looking around at the
end. That's how he is, his personality, but I'm pretty happy with the
way that he went. I know he's feeling good. All I've got to do is wait
for the race."
Moreno has won just
three of 20 starts but been a top competitor in the sport for the past
two years. After winning the Grade 2 Dwyer last year, he finished third
in the Jim Dandy, second by a nose to champion Will Take Charge in the
Travers, and second in the Pennsylvania Derby.
This year has been more
of the same, with a third in the Charles Town Classic and a second-place
finish in the Suburban. He finally broke through, beating the likes of
Will Take Charge, Palace Malice, Itsmyluckyday and Golden Ticket in the
Whitney, at $1.5 million the richest race of the Saratoga meet.
The ever-talkative Guillot said there will be no secret as to how Moreno will try to win the Woodward.
"It's always going to be
the same for this horse; nothing is going to change," he said. "My
quotes are going to change after the race and before the race because
I'm a man of many colors, but as far as the plan for the horse, it's
going to be déjà vu, just like the Frenchman I am. I'm going to repeat
myself one more time: If you're in front of me, you went too fast."
Also Sunday, trainer Chad Brown worked a pair of runners who are aiming for the Grade 1 Woodward, with Zivo breezing five furlongs in 1:01.24 and Last Gunfighter covering four furlongs in 49.70 seconds.
Zivo, a 5-year-old New
York-bred owned by Thomas Coleman, has won six straight, including the
Grade 2 Suburban Handicap by three lengths over Moreno on July 5 at
"It was just a
maintenance breeze," said Brown "I thought he breezed well and galloped
out well, and he's on target for the Woodward."
John Gunther's Last
Gunfighter, a 5-year-old who has won four graded stakes, was fifth in
the Grade 1 Whitney on August 2, his most recent start.
"I thought he went well, and he's most likely going to run in the Woodward as well," said Brown.
Working for a possible start in the Woodward as well was Dogwood Stable's Palace Malice,
who in company with Capo Bastone covered four furlongs on 48.67 seconds
on the main track under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez.
"I thought it was a kind of standard 48 and change work for him," said
trainer Todd Pletcher. "Mr. [Cot] Campbell is going to call me later
today and we'll have a discussion about future plans."