Whitmore serves notice at Oaklawn
Trained by Ron Moquett, the four-year-old gelding turned in a solid sophomore campaign with graded placings in the Arkansas Derby (G1), Rebel (G2) and Southwest S. (G3), but he’s found his niche since cutting back to one-turn racing three starts back. The gelding returned to action following an unplaced Kentucky Derby effort with a sprint win at Aqueduct in December and has really elevated his game in a pair of Oaklawn appearances.
After earning a hefty 104 BRIS Speed rating winning a six-furlong allowance on January 15, Kentucky-bred son of Pleasantly Perfect was tons the best while six lengths clear in Saturday’s six-furlong race, a margin that could have been larger considering traffic issues along the rail nearing the turn for home.
Whitmore posted a strong 102 Speed figure earning his first stakes triumph and it was the way he readily surged home in the lane that caught my eye. And he appears capable of evolving into one of the top sprinters in the country. Perfect from five dashes in his career, he’s won by a combined 20 ¾ lengths!
According to connections, the chestnut exited his victory in “crazy good” condition and will be pointed to the April 15 Count Fleet (G3) on the Hot Springs, Arkansas oval, which he has proven to adore. With room for improvement going forward, I don’t think Whitmore is just a horse-for-the-course by any means and fully expect him to be a major force in this division as the season progresses.