SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Repole Stable and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ multiple graded stakes placed Moretti will attempt to defend his title against a talented field of older horses in Thursday’s $120,000 Birdstone, a 1 3/4-mile main-track marathon at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, the Medaglia d’Oro bay, out of the Grade 1-winning Concerto mare Rigoletta, is a half-brother to millionaire 2017 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Battle of Midway.
Purchased for $900,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale, Moretti blossomed last season, posting a record of three wins and three seconds in six starts, including stakes scores in the Flat Out at Belmont and Birdstone at Saratoga to go along with a runner-up effort in the Grade 2 Suburban at Belmont.
Pletcher, a five-time Birdstone winner, said Moretti is working well into Thursday’s repeat bid, including a five-eighths breeze in 1:01.88 on 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 be tasked with engineering the title defense 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 types 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.”