07/06/2013 5:58PM

Belmont: Much-improved Moreno romps in Dwyer

Barbara D. Livingston
Jockey Jose Ortiz celebrates his first graded stakes victory as he crosses the finish line seven lengths in front aboard Moreno in the Dwyer.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Moreno shipped from California to New York primarily to be a workmate of another horse in the barn with stakes aspirations. As the Belmont Park meet nears its end, it is Moreno who turns out to be the star of trainer Eric Guillot’s stable.

Validating the front-running maiden victory he recorded here on Belmont Stakes Day, Moreno once gain used his speed to record a seven-length, front-running victory in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont.

 Moreno was ridden by Jose Ortiz, who recorded his first career graded stakes victory after winning five listed stakes.

 Moreno, a son of Ghostzapper owned by Mike Moreno’s Southern Equine Stable, lost his first nine races before taking his last two, both with blinkers added. He has 2 seconds and 2 wins from 4 starts on dirt since being gelded earlier this year.

 “We tried a lot of different things,” said John Daley, Guillot’s assistant, who saddled the horse Saturday. “He’s a little smarter than us, this horse. We put blinkers on, we put him on the lead, we gelded him, just done different things. We’ve always felt he was talented. It was just a matter of figuring him out really.”

Initially, Moreno shipped here to be the workmate of Salutos Amigos, who ran ninth in the Grade 3 Woody Stephens on the Belmont Stakes undercard.

Earlier on that card, Moreno won a one-mile maiden race by 6 1/4 lengths under Ortiz.

On Saturday, Ortiz employed those same tactics, securing a one-length lead after an opening quarter in 24.21 seconds. Moreno extended the lead at every call, running a half-mile in 47.36 seconds, six furlongs in 1:10.99, a mile in 1:34.86, and he covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.07 while never being threatened. He returned $13.40 as the fourth choice in the field of six.

Saint Vigeur outfinished For Greater Glory - who leapt at the break, costing him several lengths - for second. Abraham, Make Your Move, and Battier, the 3-2 favorite, completed the order of finish.

“We’ve always liked him. He’s always been a nice horse. He just really seemed to blossom since he got here,” Daley said. “All of his works have been fantastic. He’s put on weight. The way he ran his maiden race we figured while we’re here why not take a shot? Jose rode him perfect and everything worked out great.”

Daley said Moreno would ship to Saratoga on Sunday morning and could be considered for the Grade 2. $600,000 Jim Dandy on July 27.