Morning Line returned from an eight month layoff to charge to a front-running, half-length victory in the $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy H. (G2) May 5 at Hollywood Park in the first start for the 5-year-old son of Tiznow in the care of trainer John Shirreffs.
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Not seen since last August in the Grade 1 Whitney H., Morning Line was anxious to go right out of the gate, galloping out to a length and half lead after a quarter mile. Gladding made a run at the leader on the backstretch, but he pulled away again on the turn. Prayer for Relief then took a run in the stretch, but Morning Line had enough to hold off his challenger as Joe Talamo guided him under the wire in front, stopping the timer in 1:42.42 for the 1 1/16 miles.
“When I saw Joe just getting a little higher on him going to the three-eighths, you could see he was taking a good breather just then,” said Shirreffs. “You can see from his past races that when horses come to him, he really fights. He’s very classy horse.’’
Shirreffs added he hopes to bring Morning Line back in the Grade II, $150,000 Californian June 2 and the Grade I, $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup July 7.
Morning Line pushed his earnings to $1,212,300. The victory was Morning Line’s third in a graded stakes in as many years. He won the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park – now Parx – in 2010 and the Grade 1 Carter H. April 9, 2011 at Aqueduct. He is owned by the partnership of William Farish, Dixiana Stables and Thoroughbred Legends Stable.
Morning Line is one of five stakes winners this year for Tiznow, who is currently fifth on the 2012 General Sire list with $2.72 million in progeny earnings.