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Submitted by John Conte on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 12:00 AM

Breeders’ Cup Classic: Moreno close to elite 3-year-olds in ability


ARCADIA, Calif. – When there is a loose horse on the track at Santa Anita, a siren goes off, and lights flash, to warn other riders. No such warning exists when trainer Eric Guillot arrives for work each morning, but, like a loose horse, he usually makes his presence known in short order.

Guillot often sets up shop at midstretch on the track apron, where he watches his horses train, and dispenses with his views of the world. Sometimes he’s funny, sometimes he’s uncouth, often he’s both, but in recent months, Guillot has become best known for the charge he made against jockey Luis Saez following the Travers Stakes, claiming Saez had used an electrical device to propel Will Take Charge past Guillot’s trainee, Moreno, in the closing yards.

After an extensive review, the New York State Gaming Commission called the charges “wholly unsubstantiated.”

Guillot, in his initial filing with the commission, said he thought he noticed something untoward on television footage provided by his brother. On Thursday morning at Santa Anita, he joked, “My brother needs a new TV.”

The circus sideshow has overshadowed the progress Moreno has made this year for Guillot. After taking 10 starts to finally beat maidens, Moreno has acquitted himself well in graded stakes ever since. He won the Dwyer, was third in the Jim Dandy, lost the Travers by a nose, and then was second – again to Will Take Charge – in the Pennsylvania Derby.

If Will Take Charge and Palace Malice are considered the leading 3-year-old males in the country, Moreno, at least on ability if not stakes wins, is not far behind. All three are scheduled to compete against a star-studded group of older horses in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic here on Nov. 2.

“He’s a stayer. He wants a mile and a quarter,” Guillot said, referring to the distance of the Classic, as well as the Travers. “Some people were surprised he didn’t go in the Dirt Mile, but he’s a-mile-and-a-quarter horse.”

Guillot said Moreno has come on in the second half of the year owing to his being sound, despite his poor conformation, and to being gelded earlier this year.

“He’s got three crooked-ass legs out of four,” Guillot said. “He’s got more problems than a fifth-grade algebra class. We gelded him because he’s too crooked to breed to, and because he gets nervous. It did settle him down quite a bit.”

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