Moreno Seeks First Classic Distance Win in Gold Cup
Moreno Seeks First Classic Distance Win in Gold Cup: The Gold Cup at Santa Anita was once a much loved and cherished race at Hollywood Park. However, since the closing and destruction of that historical track, the Gold Cup has been run at Santa Anita where it serves as a prep for the year-end Breeders’ Cup Classic. Winning the Gold Cup also provides an automatic berth into the Classic, which will be run October 31, 2015, at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky.
The Gold Cup at Santa Anita lacks any real star with the injury of Shared Belief, the resting American Pharoah, and the absence of any other top older horses, so this field may serve as a stepping-stone for another to emerge as a top older male. With no three-year-olds in the field, the four-year-old Hoppertunity is the youngest competitor. However, the five-year-old gelding Moreno looks to finally get his fifth win and only his first past nine furlongs. The Gold Cup is run at the classic distance of ten furlongs, or 1¼ miles.
Moreno has competed in seven races at ten furlongs but has never finished first. He was just nabbed in the 2013 Travers Stakes (GI) by Will Take Charge, the eventual Champion Three-Year-Old Colt. That Travers run is the only time Moreno has finished in the money going the classic distance of 1¼ miles. Otherwise, Moreno has 14th, 10th, and 9th place finishes going this exact distance. So, why does Moreno have such a good shot in the Gold Cup? The answer is consistency. In 27 starts, Moreno has finished first, second, or third nineteen times and has earned nearly $3 million dollars during four seasons at the track.
Moreno is bred to be a classic horse thanks to his sire and one of the fastest horses of his generation, Ghostzapper. Ghostzapper was a quality sprinter until he was sent to the Breeders’ Cup Classic in a successful attempt to follow his sire, Awesome Again, into the winner’s circle. In four seasons on the track, Ghostzapper was the winner of nine races in eleven starts. In 2004, Ghostzapper was awarded both Horse of the Year and Champion Older Male. In 2012, Ghostzapper was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Now, Ghostzapper stands at Adena Springs in Paris, Kentucky, for a seemingly low price of $60,000. Moreno is the top earner in 2015 for Ghostzapper. The stallion has an average win distance of 7.22 furlongs, which is actually quite high compared to older top stallions. Moreno helps this average win distance with his consistency and his wins coming at eight, eight-and-a-half, and nine furlongs.
Moreno also likely gets a lot of his speed from his dam Danceinthesunlight, an unraced daughter of Belmont Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner A.P. Indy. In addition, Danceinthesunlight is out of a Mr. Prospector mare. Mr. Prospector was one of the fastest horses of his generation but never really got to showcase his talent until he became one of the top stallions in recent memory; he is now considered to be a breed-shaping stallion. Danceinthesunlight may be the daughter of the great Mr. Prospector, but she is also a direct female descendant of Dance Smartly, the 1991 Champion Three-Year-Old Filly, 1991 Canadian Triple Crown Champion, and 1991 Canadian Horse of the Year. Also, in 2001, she received the Sovereign Award for Outstanding Broodmare of the Year. Danceinthesunlight is also a full sibling to top racehorse Scatter the Gold.
Moreno has the pedigree to be a top horse, and winning the Gold Cup will lock in a start in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at the end of the year. Moreno is about as consistent as they come, and with a softer spot in this race, he could finally earn his second Grade I win.
The Gold Cup 2015 Post Positions & Odds
Race 9 5:00 PM PT
1 Batti Man 30-1 Perez/Mulhall
2 Hard Aces 12-1 Espinoza/Sadler
3 Poshsky 30-1 Prat/Miller
4 Motown Men 6-1 Baze/West
5 Majestic City 12-1 Lopez/Baltas
6 Hoppertunity 7-2 Garcia/Baffert
7 Big Cazanova 12-1 Nakatani/Miller
8 Moreno 7-2 Velasquez/Guillot
9 Catch a Flight 5-2 Stevens/Mandella
10 Lideris 50-1 Talamo/Miller
11 Finnegans Wake 6-1 Smith/Miller