SARATOGA SPRINGS, New York — Making his first start in nine months, Moonlight Song broke fast and held on, splashing home to a 1 1/4-length win in the $100,000 John Morrissey on Thursday at Saratoga Race Course.
An 8-year-old gelding trained by Charlton Baker and ridden by Jose Ortiz for owner Albert Fried, Jr., Moonlight Song ran the 6 1/2-furlong sprint for New York-breds in 1:17.69 over a main track made sloppy by afternoon storms.
It was the second straight win for Moonlight Song, unraced since taking the Hudson Handicap for state-breds last October at Belmont Park. Second choice in a field of six at 2-1, he paid $6.80, $4.30 and $3.
John's Island came flying late and returned $8.10 and $3.80 for second, three-quarters of a length ahead of 7-5 favorite and multiple Grade 1 winner Palace, who paid $2.30.
Thursday's co-feature, the $75,000 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes steeplechase, was scheduled to open the card but was postponed by rain.