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ELMONT, NY – Repole Stable and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Moretti made every pole a winning one while running virtually untouched throughout Thursday’s running of the $80,000 Flat Out Stakes at Belmont Park.
Breaking well from post 3 under Javier Castellano as the 4/1 second choice, Moretti brushed with the 9/5 favorite Sir Winston after they exited their stalls but soon found himself on the lead heading into the clubhouse turn. Expert gave closest watch in the field of nine as Moretti posted fractions of :24.79, :48.97, 1:13.61, and 1:38.39 through the opening mile.
As he passed the 3/8 pole, Moretti began extending his lead and emerged onto the front stretch still under a hand ride. Though Sir Winston led a three-horse push off the far turn, Moretti had more than enough left in the tank.
Opening up as he strolled through the duration of the front stretch, Moretti crossed under a confident hand ride 5 1/4 lengths clear of the rest of the field. The Todd Pletcher trainee completed the 1 3/8-mile sloppy (sealed) dirt route in 2:16.31.
“The way I handicapped the race, it seemed to me like I was the only speed,” said Castellano, who rode him for the second straight time after piloting him to victory at Oaklawn Park last time out. “The horse broke well and I let him dictate the pace. He’s a straightforward horse.”
The defending Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Sir Winston was in prime position at the top of the stretch but was unable to make ground on the loose leader. He crossed second by a head over Expert, while Rocketry was 1 length behind them in fourth.
The rest of the field was strung out behind them, coming across in order as You’re to Blame, Adventist, Prompt, Legit, and Blugrascat’s Smile.
Moretti’s win was his first at the stakes level and improved his overall record to 9-3-3-1 with $161,150 earned. The well-bred 4-year-old Medaglia d’Oro colt is out of the Grade 1-winning Concerto mare Rigoletta, making him a half-brother to the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Battle of Midway.
Purchase for $900,000 as a yearling, Moretti still has a ways to go to earn back his hefty price tag, but Pletcher hopes to use this race as a springboard to the Suburban Handicap (G2), a 1 1/4-mile event scheduled to be run here on July 4.
“He’s always been a steady galloper and he seems like he’s come around in his last couple of starts,” Pletcher said. “He’s really found himself and seems like he’s improving, which is really what we expected all along. The older he got, the better he would get.”
Moretti returned $10.40 to win, $5.20 to place, and $4 to show. Sir Winston brought back $3.90 to place and $3 to show, while Expert paid $5.10 to show.
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