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Moretti Seeks Birdstone Repeat vs. Red-Hot Lone Rock

Likely favorite Lone Rock enters the 1 3/4-mile marathon off a Brooklyn (G2) win.

Moretti wins the 2020 Birdstone Stakes at Saratoga Race Course

Moretti wins the 2020 Birdstone Stakes at Saratoga Race Course

Coglianese Photos

Repole Stable and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners' multiple graded stakes-placed Moretti will attempt to defend his title against the streaking Lone Rock and five other older horses in the Aug. 5 $120,000 Birdstone Stakes, a 1 3/4-mile main-track marathon at Saratoga Race Course.

Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, the 5-year-old son of Medaglia d'Oro  out of grade 1 winner Rigoletta is a half brother to the late 2017 Las Vegas Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Battle of Midway. 

Purchased for $900,000 from Gainesway's consignment to The Saratoga Sale, Fasig-Tipton's selected yearling sale in New York in 2017, Moretti excelled last season, posting a record of three wins and three seconds in six starts, including stakes scores in the Flat Out at Belmont Park and Birdstone at Saratoga to go along with a runner-up effort in the Suburban Stakes (G2) at Belmont.

In two starts this year, Moretti was third behind Lone Rock in the Brooklyn Stakes Presented by Northwell Health (G2) June 5 at Belmont and fourth in the July 3 Suburban.

Pletcher, a five-time Birdstone winner, said Moretti is working well leading into Thursday's repeat bid, including a five-eighths breeze in 1:01.88 July 29 on the Spa main track.

"He's doing well. We know he likes the distance," Pletcher said. "It's just a matter of keeping him happy and fit. He's coming off a couple of solid efforts and we're looking forward to giving it a try again."

Irad Ortiz Jr. will ride from post 4.

"I think the main thing is to get into a comfortable rhythm rather than worry about who's on the lead or stalking," Pletcher said. "In these type of races, you just want to get into a good rhythm. You don't get many opportunities at this distance, so we'll give it our best shot."

Flying P Stable's Lone Rock made the grade last out, romping to an 11 1/4-length score in the 1 1/2-mile Brooklyn.

Claimed back by trainer Robertino Diodoro for $40,000 out of a winning effort in November at Churchill Downs, Lone Rock captured a 1 1/16-mile allowance optional claimer in February at Oaklawn Park in his next outing.

The 6-year-old Majestic Warrior gelding has made his last four starts at 1 1/2 miles, finishing second in the Temperence Hill Stakes in March ahead of an allowance optional claiming score April 11, both at Oaklawn. He returned on short rest to capture the Isaac Murphy Marathon Overnight Stakes Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance April 27 at Churchill ahead of the Brooklyn.

"He's a horse that loves his job and he's training great. He bounced out of that race like it was nothing," Diodoro said. "On Belmont day it was a little warm and to run that far, you'd think it would take a little bit out of him but he's come back like a monster."

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Centennial Farms' multiple graded stakes winner Rocketry has finished third in the last two editions of the Birdstone and was eighth last out in the Brooklyn. Also back from the Brooklyn is Lothenbach Stables' Ry's the Guy, who was sixth.

Final Turn Racing Stable and Noda Brothers' You're to Blame, runner-up in last year's Birdstone, made an impressive first start July 25 for trainer Orlando Noda with a 9 1/2-length off-the-turf allowance optional claiming romp traveling 1 1/8 miles on a fast main track.

Rounding out the field are graded stakes-placed, stakes winner He's No Lemon and Shooger Ray Too.

Entries: Birdstone S.

Saratoga Race Course, Thursday, August 5, 2021, Race 9

  • STK
  • 1 3/4m
  • Dirt
  • $120,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 5:39 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Ry's the Guy (KY)Chris Landeros118Ian R. Wilkes8/1
22He's No Lemon (KY)Manuel Franco118Kenneth G. McPeek20/1
33Lone Rock (KY)Ramon A. Vazquez124Robertino Diodoro1/1
44Moretti (KY)Irad Ortiz, Jr.118Todd A. Pletcher5/2
55Shooger Ray Too (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJoel Rosario118J. Tyler Servis15/1
66You're to Blame (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJose L. Ortiz118Orlando Noda4/1
77Rocketry (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRicardo Santana, Jr.122James A. Jerkens12/1