03/04/2015 1:40PM

Moreno to set pace in Santa Anita Handicap

Barbara D. Livingston
Grade 1 winner Moreno will start in Saturday's Santa Anita Handicap.

ARCADIA, Calif. – A murky pace scenario in the Santa Anita Handicap became clear Wednesday when trainer Eric Guillot confirmed that front-runner Moreno will make his 2015 debut Saturday in the Big Cap.

Guillot considered shipping Moreno to Oaklawn Park for the Grade 3 Razorback on March 14.

“It was either go to the Razorback at a mile and a sixteenth in weather or go out there in the Big Cap, lope on the lead, and hold on for second or third,” Guillot said. “And besides Shared Belief, there are no stars in the race.”

Moreno is not without credentials. He won the Grade 1 Whitney in 2014 at Saratoga, ran second in the Grade 1 Woodward, and has earned $1,834,940 while winning three of 23 starts. The Big Cap will be his first start since finishing last in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 1.

:: SANTA ANITA HANDICAP: Get PPs, watch Saturday’s Santa Anita card live

A 5-year-old gelding, Moreno underwent arthroscopic surgery three days after the Breeders’ Cup to remove ankle chips. Guillot said he had two chips in his right ankle and one in his left. Moreno was turned out for a month and resumed training at Los Alamitos in late December.

Although he is likely to set the pace, Moreno might have company in the Big Cap. “The only thing that worries me is [Crimson Giant],” Guillot said. “Would I be lone speed without him?”

Crimson Giant is expected to hound Moreno in the Big Cap, a race Guillot hopes will set up his horse for the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic on April 18. With the Big Cap under his belt as a prep race, Guillot said Moreno “would be ready to rock and roll at Charles Town.”

Santiago Gonzalez will be named to ride Moreno in the Big Cap. The prospective field is led by 125-pound highweight Shared Belief; Moreno is the second highweight at 121. Others include Bronzo, Dynamic Sky, and Imperative at 117; Patrioticandproud at 116; Hard Aces, Sr. Quisqueyano, and You Know I Know at 115; and Catch a Flight, Cool Samurai, and Crimson Giant at 114. Diamond Bachelor also would carry 114 if he runs..

Nathan More than 1 year ago
flaky trainer move. will set him up for disaster at ct.
Scott More than 1 year ago
Moreno's trainer knew what every handicapper betting this race knew - his colt could get a race into him, get second place money in preparation for the Charles Town Classic. I thought it was an odd choice myself, but Moreno definitely made a nice account of himself. Shared Belief is just on another planet compared to the runners he faced today. Second place checks spend nicely too.
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
you base that statement on what
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
I have always been a big fan of this gelding Moreno. But to come back after removing chips in both ankles and to run in this Big Cap kinda bothers me a bit. I just hope he can compete at the same level he has shown and those front wheels can handle his front end speed........
Mark D More than 1 year ago
Don't bet him tomorrow....bet him at Chuck-Town next month...that's the race they want to win. $1 Million to the winner...and will be a much easier field to beat too.
Scott More than 1 year ago
It seemed odd to make a comeback race in the Big Cap, but Moreno proved his quality in that race by finishing second in my opinion. Maybe his "flaky trainer" (quoting Nathan from up above) might have known something about his charge and the field he was facing afterall. Moreno is a nice horse, but he's not a superstar and while I was impressed with him holding second, the result was really never in doubt once he was pressed through honest fractions. Shared Belief again proved he's the king of California and is the clear front runner for HOTY. (especially with the only horse who seems like he could beat him on his best day going to Dubai).
Marc Estrich More than 1 year ago
Don't know how Moreno will do but I DO know he has got to be the best hoss in the country eligible for NW4L.
slewof damascus More than 1 year ago
longshot exotic possibility: I thought You Know I Know ran a credible race at 100+ to 1 in the Antonio. He needed that race. I could see him sneaking into the tri and supers at 60-1 or more. Maybe even complete a decent exacta behind 3 to 5 winner.
Daniel Cunningham More than 1 year ago
Moreno has surgery in early November, takes a month off after that. And is now race ready for a mile and a quarter Grade 1 at a mile and quarter. Monster horse. In the old days trainers took 60 days to get a horse read for six furlongs.
saratogajunkie More than 1 year ago
After watching SB ease by CC in his last was super impressive..I don't see him losing unless Smith falls off. Scared CC all the way to Meydan! ( he may very well win in Meydan) which only would further validate how good SB is...Awesome Card!
Keith Valentine More than 1 year ago
"Scared CChrome to Meydan?...Hmmm shared belief if he wins today gets 60% of $1Mill...If CChrome wins he gets the same 60% of $10Mill...sounds like a good business decision and you duck sbelief
saratogajunkie More than 1 year ago
Absolutely a good move, no-one was beating SB yesterday
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
could drf comment on what happened at DELTA DOWNS last night Wednesday ..in the 4th race i hit the superfecta the exacta and trifecta. After the numbers where posted DELTA DOWNS announced a tote malfunction (something i have seen before many times).the difference here was that after 20 minutes or so they announced that they were refunding and declared the race a non race..so basically they screwed up and the bettors get screwed again.nothing unusual happened during the running and ive seen tote issues get resolved and the winners paid.so im wondering what happened here.ps they ran the next race and the tote was fine.
Cover2 More than 1 year ago
Think a lot are running for more than a minor 4-5 finish. Grass horses have done very well in the Big Cap, so I'll box both of Casse's runners win/place box exacta with Shared belief box trifecta........With ALL dime superfecta .............4-5-7
Robert Smith More than 1 year ago
This horse could have made a lot more money.
tommy More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge fan of Moreno!!! We bet palace malice he huge favor at the Whitney, now let's take down shared belief!!!!
Randy Baker More than 1 year ago
Good luck with that one Tommy.They all get beat sooner or later if they run long enough.But I'd look elsewhere.I think this guy needs a race to get the right VO2 max.He should have it for CharlesTown Classic.
tommy More than 1 year ago
I thought it was 1 1/8 race but I double checked and it's a much longer race. This indicates that Moreno has no shot of winning after you calculate vo2 max!!! If it were 1 1/8 race he has a chance of beating shared belief but not at longer distances! I'm betting heavy this weekend at Tampa bay derby, San Felipe , and pick 4 at Santa Anita and Tampa. If I lose this weekend I will be so mad and won't bet until the kentucky derby