Let move on.
Highlight # 2
Itsmyluckyday, winning the Woodward
The Woodward, year after year one of America's premiere races--and my favorite--for 3 year olds and up, has a storied history. Some of the greatest races won by some of the greatest champions. Havre de Grace and Rachel Alexandra and Curlin and Lawyer Ron. And before them, there was Ghostzapper, Mineshaft, Lemon Drop Kid, Cigar, and Holy Bull among others.(See e.g., previous posts on the Woodward in 2011, in 2012, and in 2013.)
Last year's Woodward was a rematch between 4 year olds Moreno and Itsmyluckyday. Moreno had scored a few weeks earlier in the Whitney (see Highlight #3 below), but this time Itsmyluckyday was triumphant after a gruelling stretch run.
(click to enlarge any photo)
|Itsmyluckyday(center) pressing Moreno|
Itsmyluckyday by Half a Length at the Line
Highlight # 3
Moreno, winning the Whitney
As a 3 year old, he led the field in the 2013 Travers until he was nipped at the finish by a hard charging (and eventual 3 Year Old Champ) Will Take Charge. (See Will Take Charge, Winning the Travers.) But he returned to the Spa in 2014 to defeat all comers in the even richer Whitney Stakes. (Last year, the purse for the Whitney was a million and a half.; the Travers was a million in 2013.)
Moreno Running His Race Up Front
With Junior Alvarado aboard, Moreno proved to be the best of a talent packed field that again included Will Take Charge, as well as Palace Malice, Prayer for Relief, Last Gunfighter, Romansh, Departing and Golden Ticket.
Moreno Fends off Itsmyluckyday
In accord with trainer Eric Guillot's plans, Moreno was allowed to run his race--up front and fast--and this time, at a furlong shorter than the Travers, he was able to fend off a different hard charging challenger, Itsmyluckyday, by more than a length. (As we discussed above in Highlight #2, the Moreno-Itsmyluckyday rivalry continued in the Woodward.)
Highlight # 4Wise Dan, winning the Bernard Baruch
On the last weekend of the meet, the 7 year old Champ, two time Horse of the Year Wise Dan, returned to Saratoga again triumphant. In his previous visits, he won the Fourstardave in 2 consecutive years. But this time, it was just a few short months since undergoing colic surgery.
Wise Dan Takes the Lead
Wise Dan Challenged by Optimizer
The Champ Would Not Be Denied
Highlight # 5
Palace, winning the Forego
Takes the Lead
Though he had already proven he was a top quality sprinter in the Grade 1 Vanderbilt, there was some doubt how he would handle the extra 1/8 of a mile in the 7 furlong Forego. At the top of the stretch, he passed Weekend Hideaway and Zee Bros for the lead. But Big Business, Vijack, and Capo Bastone were making their move from the rear.
Palace by 3 and 1/2
at the Finish
Palace apparently didn't mind the extra distance one bit. The closers couldn't catch him. Not even close. With Cornelio Velasquez at the reigns, he extended his half length lead at the top of the stretch to 3 and 1/2 at the finish line.
In the next post, Highlights 6 - 10, and a human!