Moreno Tunes Up for Woodward (Helmet Cam Video)

Moreno wins 2014 Whitney.
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 Woodward."


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 wanted."


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 Belmont Park.


"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."


Source: NYRA



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