The front-running Moreno is safely into the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic after his win in the Whitney (G2) on Aug. 2. However, will he be lucky enough to be able to wire the field again in Saturday’s $600,000 Woodward (G1) at Saratoga?
The Eric Guillot trainee earned a career top Beyer Speed Figure in his gate to wire score in the Whitney, and takes on a field of nine in the Woodward as the main speed.
Itsmyluckyday checked in second in the Whitney, beaten 1 ¼ lengths and trainer Edward Plesa adds blinkers on the colt, who had a three race winning streak snapped in the Whitney. The colt seems most likely to be able to turn the tables.
The Woodward is one of four stakes on an outstanding 12-race card on the final Saturday of the Spa meeting, which closes on Monday.
The stakes action kicks off in the fifth race with the return of reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan, who goes in the $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2). The gelding is the 3-5 morning line favorite and makes his first start since winning the Woodward Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on May 3.
His summer campaign was interrupted with emergency colic surgery, but trainer Charles LoPresti thinks the colt is back and better than ever.
“He’s gotten back to where he was; he’s dragging his rider around there,” LoPresti said. “His works have been really good, and they’ve been basically not even asking him to do that. He’s just been doing it in hand.”
Also on the card today are the $300,000 Prioress (G2) for three-year-old fillies and the $500,000 Forego (G1) for three-year-olds and upward going seven furlongs. The Forego is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Let’s head out to the Spa for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Saratoga Race 11 The Woodward G1 (Post time 6:46 ET)
2 Itsmyluckyday 5-2
1 Long River / 1a Romansh 8-1
4 Moreno 2-1
6 Zivo 5-1
Analysis: Itsmyluckyday stalked the early pace and could not get to the loose on the lead gate to wire winner Moreno last out in the Whitney (G1), coming up 1 1/4 lengths short, snapping a three race winning streak. The colt comes back with blinkers added today and with the rail draw jockey Paco Lopez is not going to let his main rival get loose again.
There is not much speed in here but several including our top pick that have shown some tactical speed. This colt has matured into a very good runner after he had a productive three-year-old campaign that included runner up finishes in the Florida Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1). The colt looks capable of turning the tables here and is going to offer a bit more value for the top spot.
Romansh was bumped coming out of the gate in the Whitney and was not a threat in a seventh place finish last out. He owns back numbers that are a good fit, checking in a good third in a quick Met Mile (G1) and he earned a 110 Beyer winning the Discovery ‘Cap (G3) last November at the Big A. He bounced back for an 11th place finish in the Donn (G1) back in February with a game win in the Excelsior (G3) on the inner track.
Entrymate Long River adds blinkers and has shown some tactical speed. He ran a couple of big Beyers on the inner track earlier this year. He put in a quick work on Aug. 24 and with the hood could be in the mix early.
Moreno pulled off the upset in the Whitney at a nice price paying $22.00 and is going to be a much shorter price here. The gelding earned a career top speed fig in his win last out and has done his best running over the Spa surface, missing winning the Travers (G1) here last summer in a photo.
There is not much early zip signed up to run with him early, but the other connections can see that and I’m thinking the pace could end up faster than it was in the Whitney.
WIN: #2 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 1,2 / 1,2,4,6
TRI: 1,2 / 1,2,4,6 / 1,2,4,6,8
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