SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Repole Stable and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Moretti mastered another marathon while taking Sunday’s $100,000 Birdstone Stakes at Saratoga.
Moretti was the 6/5 favorite in the field of five and sat a comfortable third under Javier Castellano for much of the early running. American Tattoo set a tepid pace with Expert applying consistent early pressure to his outside.
Moretti made a three-wide move as the field entered the far turn for the second time and came under a drive as Rocketry joined his outside hip for a run at the front. Moretti took command midway through the far turn and straightened for home with a narrow lead.
Kicking clear in the stretch, the Todd Pletcher trainee completed the 1 3/4-mile fast dirt route in a final time of 2:58.51.
“This horse never gets tired,” Castellano said. “I love this horse and I like the way he performs. He’s an old pro and he knows what he’s doing. No matter if you’re on the lead, on the pace or coming from behind, he’s steady, steady, steady. He’s always consistent.”
You’re to Blame came rallying from deep to nip Rocketry at the wire for second by a nose. Expert and American Tattoo both faded steadily after being headed and were not kept to task before completing the order of finish.
Highland Sky (who was placed second in Saturday’s Bowling Green Stakes [G2])and Standard Deviation were scratched.
Moretti’s win came in his first start back without blinkers and improved his overall record to 11-4-4-1 with $256,150 earned. The 4-year-old Medaglia d’Oro colt won the marathon Flat Out Stakes 2 starts back before finishing second in the Suburban Stakes (G2), his first placing in a graded event.
“At one point in the race, I thought I might have made a mistake (removing blinkers) because he seemed like he was almost a little too relaxed,” Pletcher said, “But I know in these kinds of races, you can’t have a horse that’s pulling too much. The main thing is I wanted him to settle into a good rhythm, and it seemed like he was doing that. He was always responding well when Javier asked him to maintain his position. He finished up well.”
Moretti returned $4.40 to win, $3.10 to place, and $2.10 to show. You’re to Blame brought back $5.50 to place and $2.80 to show, while Rocketry paid $2.60 to show.