Classic Empire’s Morello Wins Aqueduct Debut
A strong month for Classic Empire continued Saturday at Aqueduct when Morello (2c Classic Empire x Stop the Wedding, by Congrats) easily won by 4 ¼ lengths on debut for Blue Lion Thoroughbreds and Craig Taylor.
The six furlong dirt race saw Morello break among the last but quickly run up to race in third. Jose Lezcano let the Steve Asmussen trainee advance on the leader at his own pace with Morello happily placing himself just behind the leader in the final quarter.
Morello saw the whip a few times but was never seriously asked by his jockey as he galloped home comfortably in front.
Always a six-figure seller, Morello sold for $140,000 as a weanling, $200,000 as a yearling, and $250,000 earlier this year to Blue Lion Thoroughbreds from Sequel Bloodstock. The colt is a Kentucky-bred from the Robert Tillyer and Dr. Chet Blackey breeding program.
Morello is out of the winning Congrats mare Stop The Wedding, a half-sister to Grade II-place Saint Bernadette, who produced Grade I Preakness Stakes third Social Inclusion and stakes-placed Road to Damascus with another half-sister producing two other stakes performers.
Stop The Wedding returned to Classic Empire this year.
That stallion is now the sire of 17 winners, including five stakes performers and two stakes winners. Four of those winners are out of A.P. Indy granddaughters like Morello, including Classic Empire’s two-time stakes winner Classy Edition and Grade III Sanford fourth Ottoman Empire.