Southern Equine Stable's Moreno flashed
his speed in a Saturday morning workout, zipping five furlongs in 59.68
seconds over the main track in preparation for the Grade 1, $1 million
Travers on August 24.
winner of the Grade 2 Dwyer on July 6 at Belmont Park and a game third
to Palace Malice and Will Take Charge in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy on July
27 at the Spa, Moreno went an opening quarter-mile in :24 1/5 seconds,
three-eighths in :35 flat, and galloped out in 1:13 1/5.
traveled really good for the Travers," Guillot said. "I chose today [to
work Moreno] because you know how he's a looky-loo; he's got the
earplugs and the blinkers. I figured with the Alabama [being run today],
the apron would be full of people, and sure enough I was right. Last
Sunday, when I worked him [1:12 flat for six furlongs] he was more
focused on the rider. Today, he's got his ears pricked and he's looking
around at people eating Dunkin' Donuts."
the Jim Dandy, Moreno sailed through an opening half-mile in 47.48
seconds and six furlongs in 1:11.13 before a stalking Palace Malice
overtook him. With speedy Grade 1 Haskell Invitational winner Verrazano
also in the Travers lineup - giving trainer Todd Pletcher an imposing,
double-barreled entry - Guillot believes moderate internal fractions
will be critical for Moreno to have a chance to win at 1 ¼ miles.
going to all be about the inner fractions," Guillot said. "Inner
fractions make races. If you're any kind of handicapper, you should know
would imagine Todd wouldn't be pressing his own horse with Palace
Malice and Verrazano together; that wouldn't make much sense," he
continued. "So, somebody's going to push me, and, hopefully, they push
me so far up front, or push me to the point where the other one can't
catch up. That would be the best-case scenario."
Guillot also sent out Salutos Amigos, bound for the Grade 1, $500,000 Foxwoods King's Bishop on the Travers undercard, for a five-furlong work in 1:02.53.
the Grade 2 Amsterdam on July 28, the son of Salute the Sarge raced
close behind a fast pace, briefly dropped back and then came charging
along the rail to finish third, beaten 1 ¾ lengths by winner Forty
The performance earned Salutos Amigos a lifetime-best 98 Beyer Speed Figure.
Guillot said the 3-year-old colt has overcome nagging foot issues, and he expects a big run in the Foxwoods King's Bishop.
I bought the horse and put him on the shelf, he had real spongy, real
crumbly, a real bad horny wall on him," Guillot said of Salutos Amigos'
feet. "You couldn't put in any nails; you had to kind of glue - put a
nail, glue, put a nail, glue. It would take two hours ... to put a shoe
job on him.
knew it would take six months to grow out. They've grown out. I don't
have any more glue on the horse. The day after I shoe him, he goes like a
champ. I don't have to keep him on any kind of medication to keep his
feet right. The horse went from shuffling like he was on egg shells to
striding out like a good horse."
* * *
Both trainer Ken McPeek and regular rider Alan Garcia were pleased with the way War Dancer performed in his final breeze prior to the Grade 1 Travers on August 24.
who has been aboard for six of the War Front colt's seven career
starts, guided War Dancer through a five-furlong work on the Oklahoma
training track Saturday morning.
went great; better than ever," Garcia said. "He was moving sweet. I'm
looking forward to the Travers. The way I'm feeling the last two times I
breezed this horse, he couldn't be better."
by Magdelena Racing, War Dancer worked in company with maiden winner So
Raise Yourglass. Both horses were clocked in 1:02.33, fourth-fastest of
11 horses at the distance.
was a nice work," McPeek said. "He did it well. Alan seemed to think
that he could have left the other horse earlier in the breeze. It looks
like it sets up pretty nice for us. War Dancer does everything you ask
him to do, whenever you ask him to do it. He's drilling the feed tub,
and that's what he's got to do going into this."
but one of War Dancer's races have come on turf, including a gutsy head
victory in the Grade 2 Virginia Derby on July 13 in his most recent
start. He was fourth in his lone dirt try in February at Gulfstream
Park, a race in which each of the top three finishers - Saint Vigeur,
Wabbajack and Freedom Child - came back to win their next start.
think he'll handle the dirt fine; we just haven't given him much of an
opportunity on it other than the one race in Florida," he said. "He's
made the mile and a quarter already in the Virginia Derby, and that was a
very heavy turf course."
recently moved War Dancer into stall 1, the same one occupied by Golden
Ticket last summer prior to his dead-heat victory with Alpha in the
"Same groom, too," McPeek said. "Same exercise rider. What works, you stick to it."
Also working for McPeek on Saturday was Grade 1 Arkansas Derby runner-up Frac Daddy, who went five furlongs in 1:02.87 at Oklahoma. Sixteenth in the Kentucky Derby, Frac Daddy has not run since finishing 14th in the Belmont Stakes on June 8.