Aug 29, 2014
Whitney top two back for Woodward Stakes
By: SPORTS NETWORK
Saratoga Springs, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Moreno and Itsmyluckyday, 1-2 in the Whitney Handicap, headline a field of 10 for Saturday's 60th running of the $600,000 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.
Missing from the Woodward are Eclipse Award winner Will Take Charge, third in the Whitney, and Palace Malice, who was sixth. Both 4-year-olds will start in Belmont Park's Jockey Club Gold Cup on Sept. 27.
Owned by Southern Equine Stable, Moreno will start the 1 1/8-mile stakes from post 4 with Junior Alvarado again in the saddle. Alvarado recently won his 1,000th career race.
Moreno, trained by Eric Guillot, notched just his second career stakes victory with the Whitney and has won three times in 20 lifetime starts for $1,709,940.
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.
The 4-year-old gelding 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 a 10th-place result in the Breeders' Cup Classic.
Itsmyluckyday will be ridden by Paco Lopez from the inside post. The 4-year- old colt is trained by Eddie Plesa for Trilogy Stable and wife Laurie.
"We're going to have a change of equipment," Plesa said. "We worked him both times in the blinkers, and I like the way he went. I think maybe we can fine- tune him a little bit, maybe focus him down the lane; just do something a little different. Sometimes horses need a little something to shake them up."
The colt began the year with a fourth-place finish behind Palace Malice in the Gulfstream Park Handicap. He put together a three-race win streak of Gulfstream's Best of the Rest Stakes and Monmouth Park's Majestic Light Stakes and Salvator Mile.
"The script is to win a Grade 1 race," Plesa said. "This is the focus. My whole focus has been to win a Grade 1 race. The race we ran in (the Whitney) and this one coming up have been our target races.
"We're either going to get to the top of the ladder or not. This is what racing is all about, what everybody works for."
As a 3-year-old, Itsmyluckyday won the Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull Stakes with seconds in the Florida Derby and Preakness Stakes. He finished a disappointing 15th in last year's Kentucky Derby.
Itsmyluckyday has 18 career races with eight wins for $1,302,600.
Here is the field for the Woodward from the rail out: Itsmyluckyday, Paco Lopez; Long River, Irad Ortiz Jr.; Micromanage, Rajiv Maragh; Moreno, Junior Alvarado; Prayer for Relief, John Velazquez; Romansh, Jose Ortiz; Zivo, Jose Lezcano; Norumbega, Javier Castellano; Last Gunfighter, Joe Bravo and Stephanoatsee, Joel Rosario.
Long River and Romansh are coupled.
The Woodward has an approximate post time of 6:46 p.m. ET.
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