Race of the Week 2017

Moreno Turns In Final Travers Breeze

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.


Gate-to-wire 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.


"He 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."


In 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.


"It's going to all be about the inner fractions," Guillot said. "Inner fractions make races. If you're any kind of handicapper, you should know that.


"I 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.


In 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 Tales.


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.


"When 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.


"I 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."


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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.


Garcia, 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.


"He 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."


Owned 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.


"It 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."


All 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.


"We 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."


McPeek 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 Travers.


"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.




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Older Comments about Moreno Turns In Final Travers Breeze...

what validity do the trainer guiliots comments have any way.he chirped up a storm before the Jim Dandy and laid an egg along with his horse.Now he is back tracking and using the excuse he came back a bit early. Do Ya think you did????.Show me your ability to train before the fact,not after it.Guilliot is from a long line of Cajun trainers who have minimal success ,then make sure the world hears about it.So his not being afraid of Verrazano holds absolutely no water.The fact he is clueless with his analysis and picks PM as his main danger.This would be a bolt of confidence if i were in the VERRAZANO CAMP.
Good artical but you did'nt put everythin Moreno's trainer said, the part where he said how he wasent worried about Varrisono ! ( he thought pm was the horse to beat. ) j

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