Moreno Gives Ortiz First Stakes Win in Dwyer

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Moreno was triumphant in his first start since breaking his maiden, setting the pace and drawing away late to take the 96th edition of the Grade 2, $200,000 Dwyer for 3-year-olds on Saturday at Belmont Park.

Stepping up in class off a 6 ¼-length maiden win on the June 8 Belmont Stakes undercard, Moreno took the lead leaving the chute and received token pressure from favored Battier and Saint Vigeur through a half-mile in 47.36 seconds. Moreno extended his lead to 2 ½ lengths on the far turn, then ran away under Jose Ortiz’s drive to prevail by seven widening lengths over Saint Vigeur. For Greater Glory finished a neck behind the runner-up in third after leaping at the start.

Backed at 5-1, Moreno paid $13.40 for a $2 win wager and completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.07.

The Dwyer marked the first graded stakes victory for Ortiz, 19, and came two days after his brother, Irad Ortiz, Jr., won the Grade 3 Poker aboard King Kreesa.

“He won very good last time,” said Jose Ortiz of Moreno. “I worked him twice and he worked pretty good. The trainer told me he came back very good, so I had plenty of confidence in my horse. I want to say thank you to the owners, and the trainer, the assistant and the groom, the hotwalker, everyone. Everyone wants to win a graded stakes. This is my first one and I hope it’s not going to be my last.”

Moreno was winless in nine starts in California before he came to New York along with stablemate Salutos Amigos, who finished ninth in Belmont’s Grade 2 Woody Stephens presented by NYRA Rewards on June 8, the same day Moreno broke his maiden.

“This horse has done amazing since we have been here,” said John Daley, assistant to winning trainer Eric Guillot. “He just really seems to have blossomed; all of his works have been fantastic. He’s put on weight. With the way he ran in his maiden race, we figured that while we are here, why not take a shot?”

Owned by Michael Moreno’s Southern Equine Stables, Moreno has earned $215,440, including $120,000 for his Dwyer win. The gelded son of Ghostzapper was bred in Kentucky by his owner.

Daley said the Dwyer winner will ship to Saratoga Race Course tomorrow and will be pointed toward a possible start in the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy on July 27.

“He’s a beautiful mover and kind of floats across the ground,” said Daley. “It seems like he is all lungs; he can run all day and can barely blow out a candle. We’ve been a little frustrated; we always knew there was a little more there. I’m just glad he showed his true colors today.”

Abraham, Make Your Move, and Battier completed the order of finish.

See the full chart here.

Dwyer (G2) Quotes 

John Daley of Southern Equine Stables, winning owner of Moreno (No. 2): “We were going to go to Saratoga, so we put him on a plane to come out here when we ran Salutos Amigos [in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens presented by NYRA Rewards] and have company for him to work with. This horse has done amazing since we have been here. He just really seems to have blossomed; all of his works have been fantastic. He’s put on weight. With the way he ran in his maiden race, we figured that while we are here, why not take a shot?”

“He’s a beautiful mover and kind of floats across the ground. It seems like he is all lungs; he can run all day and can barely blow out a candle. We’ve been a little frustrated; we always knew there was a little more there. I’m just glad he showed his true colors today. He’ll ship to Saratoga tomorrow morning, take a little break, and we’ll see what’s next.”

Jose Ortiz*, winning jockey aboard Moreno (No. 2): “He won very good last time. I worked him twice and he worked pretty good. The trainer told me he came back very good, so I had plenty of confidence in my horse. I want to say thank you to the owners, and the trainer, the assistant and the groom, the hotwalker, everyone. Everyone wants to win a graded stakes. This is my first one and I hope it’s not going to be my last.”

*Note: This is the first graded stakes victory for jockey Jose Ortiz.

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