By Brian DiDonato
Morello obliged as the 7-5 favorite in Sunday's Jimmy Winkfield S. to become the third black-type winner from his sire (by Pioneerof the Nile)'s first crop. A $250,000 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic juvenile off a good-looking :10 1/5 breeze, the chestnut opened his account with a clear-cut victory going a furlong shorter here Nov. 27 and was flattered when the runner-up came back to win well himself while improving by 17 Beyer points.
With an upbeat interim worktab on display, Morello broke alertly from the outermost five post before being allowed to settle off the pace and out wide. He advanced three deep outside of chief market rival Life Is Great through a :45.55 half and met with little resistance from there, pulling away by daylight and finishing in good time. Life Is Great held second.
“He broke very good today,” said winning rider Jose Lezcano. “Last time, he broke a little slow but today it was good. He was in the bridle the whole way and was really going like a good horse. I didn't have to touch him with the whip or anything. I just let him go. He had the same kick as last time.”
This was the first stakes win for the Blue Lion Thoroughbreds partnership.
“This was the plan all along. Sprint him, then take him to seven,” said the group's founder and managing partner Dave Lyon. “The allowance race we were looking at didn't go, but we thought this would be the right race to move forward. It looked like by the way he galloped out he could go longer. He handled this field pretty well and we're excited for the future.”
The GIII Gotham S. at a mile could be up next for the colt, who Lyon confirmed is named after Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello.
“I'm going to let [trainer] Steve [Asmussen] and [assistant trainer] Toby [Sheets] make that decision, but I think it's a realistic spot,” Lyon said of the Gotham. “I don't think he needs too much time. That race is on Mar. 5, so we'll talk to the guys who lead the charge in the training barn and make a decision on that. We're excited, we think we have a good, quality horse.”
Morello was produced by a half-sister to the GSP dam of speedy MGISP Social Inclusion (Pioneerof the Nile). He has a 2-year-old half-sister by another son of Pioneerof the Nile in Cairo Prince who brought $16,000 at Keeneland September and a yearling half-sister by Paynter who fetched $15,000 at last month's Keeneland January sale. Dam Stop the Wedding, who was 1-for-26 lifetime and mostly competed at the bottom claiming levels, was bred back to Classic Empire last year.
JIMMY WINKFIELD S., $97,000, Aqueduct, 2-6, 3yo, 7f, 1:23.30, gd.
1–MORELLO, 118, c, 3, by Classic Empire
1st Dam: Stop the Wedding, by Congrats
2nd Dam: Wedding Jitters, by Runaway Groom
3rd Dam: Classy Tricks, by Hold Your Tricks
($140,000 Wlg '19 KEENOV; $200,000 Ylg '20 FTKSEL;
$250,000 2yo '21 EASMAY). 1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN. O-Blue Lion
Thoroughbreds & Craig & Victoria Taylor; B-Robert B. Tillyer &
Dr. Chet Blackey (KY); T-Steven M. Asmussen; J-Jose Lezcano.
$55,000. Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $99,000. *Third stakes
winner for sire (by Pioneerof the Nile).
2–Life Is Great, 118, c, 3, Tapiture–Zucca, by Read the
Footnotes. O-E.V. Racing Stable; B-EVS Corp (FL); T-Robert P.
3–Beast Or Famine, 120, c, 3, The Big Beast–Twocatsintheyard,
by Andiron. O/B-Jettany Thoroughbred Corp & J.A.G. Racing,
Inc (FL); T-Penny Pearce. $12,000.
Margins: 5, 4HF, 2 3/4. Odds: 1.40, 1.95, 5.70.
Also Ran: Dance Code, Hagler. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.