Whitmore leads local workers for Southwest
Whitmore will make his next start in the $500,000 Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park February 15, co-owner and trainer Ron Moquett said Monday morning.
Co-owner Harry Rosenblum said later Monday morning that Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith will ride Whitmore for the first time in the Southwest, a major Kentucky Derby (G1) prep race that offers 17 qualifying points toward starting eligibility, including 10 to the winner.
Moquett had been leaning toward the 1 1/16-mile Southwest for the last couple of weeks, but said he wanted to see the Pleasantly Perfect gelding work once more before finalizing a decision. The trainer gave the green light after Whitmore, in company with two stablemates, including 2015 Southwest winner Far Right, worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 over a fast track on a sunny, windy Monday morning under his wife and assistant Laura.
Far Right's major objective this spring, Moquett said, is the $750,000 Oaklawn H. (G2) on April 16.
"The work was a maintenance breeze for Far Right and a question-asking breeze for Whitmore," Moquett said. "It was just a typical maintenance deal. Very proud of them. You've got to be excited about the works and, thank goodness, all my horses worked good today."
Whitmore breezed about 25 minutes after the track opened with Far Right and How About You Dude, a maiden three-year-old Arkansas-bred colt. From the half-mile pole, the gelding, on the inside, started about two lengths ahead of Far Right and was about two lengths ahead of the four-year-old ridgling at the regular finish line. The trio worked into a 22-mile northwest wind down the backstretch and on the turn.
Moquett requested a five-furlong time from clockers after Whitmore galloped out to the seven-furlong pole. Far Right, nominated to Saturday's $100,000 Essex H., was credited with a half-mile in :47.60. How About You Dude received :48.
Whitmore, in his three-year-old debut and first start in blinkers, was a sharp 3 1/4-length entry-level allowance winner sprinting January 16 under Didiel Osorio. After winning his November 6 career debut sprinting at Churchill Downs, Whitmore, in his two-turn debut, ran fifth in the $1 million Delta Jackpot (G3) November 21.
In other Southwest works Monday:
Z Royal breezed five furlongs in 1:01 about five minutes after the track opened for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Gary Stevens will have the mount in the Southwest, Lukas said.
Suddenbreakingnews worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 after the break for trainer Donnie Von Hemel.
Torrontes worked five furlongs in 1:02.20 after the break for trainer Kellyn Gorder.
In addition to Whitmore, Z Royal, Suddenbreakingnews and Torrontes, eight other horses were considered probables Monday for the Southwest: Discreetness, Collected, Gordy Florida, Synchrony, Luna de Loco, Bird of Trey, Cutacorner and American Dubai.
Trainer Kenny McPeek said War Stroll, a January 28 maiden winner at Oaklawn, is under consideration for the Southwest.
Discreetness beat Suddenbreakingnews by a nose to win the $250,000 Springboard Mile at Remington Park before winning the $150,000 Smarty Jones January 18. Trainer Jinks Fires said he will probably work the colt Wednesday morning. Gordy Florida and Synchrony ran second and third, respectively, in the Smarty Jones.
Collected won the $100,000 Sham (G3) at Santa Anita January 9 for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who has won the Southwest four times since 2010.
Post positions will be drawn Friday morning.