Itsmyluckyday Wins the Woodward Stretch Battle

August 30, 2014 03:06pm
Itsmyluckyday beats Moreno in 2014 Woodward.
Photo: chelsea durand, NYRA
In a rematch of the top two finishers of the Whitney Stakes, the tables were turned when Itsmyluckyday won a prolonged head to head battle with Moreno to win the Woodward Stakes (G1) at Saratoga. The victory gave the horse and his jockey, Paco Lopez, their first career grade one wins.

The race began just as expected with Moreno taking the lead. Itsmyluckyday, who was wearing blinkers for the first time, sat right behind the leader in the two-path. The Godolphin entry of Long River and Romansh followed the top two a couple lengths behind. Very little changed as the horses went :24.01, :47.41, and 1:10.94 for the first three quarters of the race.

At this point Itsmyluckyday, who had shipped up to the Spa from his home base of Monmouth Park, began to steadily move up by Moreno’s outside hip as the leading duo moved around the second turn. The mile went in 1:35.53 and the stage was set for a slugfest stretch drive.

Moreno and Itsmyluckyday had eased out several paths from the rail as the jockeys and horses gave everything they had for the final furlong. They bumped and battled, but as they approached the wire Lopez, who is the runaway leading rider at the Jersey Shore, had gotten his horse in front by about a half length.  The INQUIRY sign went up after the finish, but the stewards took no action as the bumping was ruled to be incidental and the race was made official.

After the race Lopez commented on the bumping, "My horse is a great horse. The other horse [Moreno] came over and bumped into my horse. I didn't bump that horse.”

Itsmyluckyday’s trainer, Eddie Plesa, Jr. talked about winning the Grade 1, “It means everything to this horse and that’s my main concern. It’s all about the horse and he deserved it. He won this race. I couldn’t be any more proud of him.”

Coming in to the Woodward, Plesa decided to put blinkers on his son of Lawyer Ron for the first time, “I think it helped. I think it was combination of factors. I think he took the game to Moreno today. He didn’t back up.”

Plesa also described the stretch duel, “Needless to say that Moreno ran a fantastic race and they ran down there like two champions would run down with each other. We were on the winning end and that’s what it’s all about. It looked like Ali and Frazier.”

The betting public had the race handicapped perfectly as Moreno and Itsmyluckyday both went off at 5-2 odds. Moreno was the favorite by a mere $6,000 in a win pool of almost $700,000. Itsmyluckyday paid $7.70/$3.70/$3.00 and the $2 exacta for the top paid $22.80.

With the victory in the Woodward, Itsmyluckyday earned a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic through the “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series, although he is not nominated. “Lucky”, as he’s know in the Plesa barn at Monmouth Park, has now followed his sire as a winner of the Woodward. Lawyer Ron won the race in 2007 for his trainer Todd Pletcher.

With the victory Itsmyluckyday now has a career record of 19: 9-4-1. The $360,000 winner’s share of the purse boosts his earnings to $1,662,600 for the owners, Trilogy Stable and Laurie Plesa.


comments powered by Disqus

Related Pages

Meet Matt Shifman

Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs, Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.

Since 2012, Matt has been a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.

Recently, Matt helped launch Derby Day Racing, a new 2-year-old racing partnership, that just purchased a promising Lookin At Lucky filly named Sooner Schooner.

You may also know Matt by his Twitter, Facebook, and HRN screen nameAndyScoggin.

Best of the Blogs

Top Stories