“We’ll leave the early positioning up to Mike” Smith, Pletcher said. “The main thing with him is to get into a comfortable rhythm and let him gallop along. The one thing about it is he’s capable of doing it at a pretty high cruising speed. I don’t think he’ll let anybody get away with any slow fractions, hopefully, at the same time, he gets a nice smooth trip.”
Moreno, a son of Ghostzapper, comes off two dominant front-running wins at Belmont, including a seven-length score in the Grade 2 Dwyer. Both those wins have come since trainer Eric Guillot added blinkers and both were in one-turn races.
“Just because I punched on him on the lead the last couple of times doesn’t mean he has to have the lead,” Guillot said. “The reins were dangling, it’s not like he’s a run-off. The horse can do whatever he needs to do.
“He is getting better and he’s figured it all out.”
Moreno has Irad Ortiz Jr. to ride from post 4.
After winning the Peter Pan by 13 1/4 lengths in front-running fashion in the slop in May, Freedom Child got cooked in a speed duel in the Belmont Stakes, finishing 13th of 14. Freedom Child is now drawn outside of Moreno, which could portend for a better trip.
“We’re not going a mile and a half this time,” Tom Albertrani, trainer of Freedom Child, said. “Hopefully, [Luis] Saez will be able to place him where he’s not going to be in that situation.”
While Dallas Stewart sends Kentucky Derby runner-up Golden Soul to Sunday’s $1 million Haskell Invitational, he will be represented by Perfect Title in the Jim Dandy. Perfect Title is a grandson of the undefeated champion mare Personal Ensign and is coming off a last-to-first allowance win at Churchill on June 7.
“He was Golden Soul’s workmate and before he couldn’t keep up, but now he’s worked head and head with him,” said Stewart, who has Shaun Bridgmohan to ride. “I want to give him a shot in a big race because I think a lot of him. I know he’s going to be a longshot, but that doesn’t bother me at all.”
Code West, a winner of the Grade 3 Matt Winn at Churchill Downs for Bob Baffert, Looking Cool and Bashaar, the one-three finishers in the Iowa Derby, and Will Take Charge, winner of the Grade 2 Rebel before three lackluster performances in the Triple Crown series, complete the field.
The Jim Dandy and Diana will be shown live on NBC Sports Network during a one-hour broadcast beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern.
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