Moreno proves too tough in winning Whitney Handicap
Saratoga Springs, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Moreno, second in last year's Travers, proved again his liking of Saratoga as he went wire-to-wire Saturday to win the $1.5 million Whitney Handicap.
Trained by Eric Guillot and ridden by Junior Alvarado, Moreno was 10-1 in the nine-horse field versus 3-5 favorite Palace Malice and 4-1 second pick and last year's Travers winner Will Take Charge.
Moreno broke well from the gate in the 1 1/8-mile stakes and took the lead shortly after the start. Palace Malice, ridden by John Velazquez, stalked the leader from the third position while Will Take Charge and jockey Luis Saez raced off the pace.
Moreno continued on the lead up the backstretch and around the turn for home. Palace Malice remained within striking distance with Will Take Charge steadily gaining from the outside.
Coming into the stretch, Moreno maintained his lead as Palace Malice began to falter and Will Take Charge rallied from the outside. Moreno surged approaching the furlong pole and strode to a convincing 1 1/4-length victory over Itsmyluckyday.
Will Take Charge got up for third with Prayer for Relief fourth followed by Last Gunfighter, Palace Malice, Romansh, Departing and Golden Ticket.
The time for the 1 1/8-mile Whitney was 1:48.05 on a fast track.
Part of the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" program, winning the Whitney guarantees a place for Moreno in this November's Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita. Last year as a 3-year-old, the colt finished 10th behind Mucho Macho Man and runner-up Will Take Charge.
Owned by Southern Equine Stable, Moreno notched just his second stakes victory but collected $800,000 for it. The colt has won three times in 20 lifetime starts for $1,709,940.
Moreno won last year's Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park before getting third in Saratoga's Jim Dandy Stakes and second in the Travers. He finished second again behind Will Take Charge in the Pennsylvania Derby before his 10th-place result in the Breeders' Cup Classic.
This year, Moreno began with a third in the Charles Town Classic followed by a fourth in the Pimlico Special, 12th to Palace Malice in the Met Mile and was second in the Suburban Handicap four weeks ago.
Moreno paid $22.00, $9.00 and $6.60. Itsmyluckyday returned $7.90 and $4.60, and Will Take Charge paid $4.60 to show.
08/02 20:34:58 ET