Whitmore works half-mile in the mud at Oaklawn for Rebel

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TwinSpires Staff

March 13th, 2016

Edited Press Release

Co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett called an audible Sunday morning at Oaklawn Park, working Southwest (G3) runner-up Whitmore in company ahead of Saturday’s $900,000 Rebel (G2).

Breezing over a muddy, sealed surface with Greta Kuntzweiler in the irons, Whitmore and Grade 3 scorer Far Right, who is also trained by Moquett and readying for Saturday’s $300,000 Razorback H. (G3), covered a half-mile in :51 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:04.

The trainer had planned to breeze Whitmore Monday morning but moved up the work because of the threat of severe thunderstorms late Sunday afternoon in the Hot Springs, Arkansas, area.

“With the weather coming in, I thought it would be best,” Moquett stated. “It worked out fine.”

Whitmore, as it turns out, may not be Moquett’s only Rebel starter. The conditioner said Sunday morning that he was leaning toward running lightly raced Tisdale in the Rebel, which is the final major local prep for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) going 1 1/8 miles on April 16.

Tisdale broke his maiden at Oaklawn in his third career start last out on February 6 at the 1 1/16-mile Rebel distance under Corey Nakatani. Moquett said he will make a decision on Tisdale, named for late Oklahoma basketball great Wayman Tisdale, following a scheduled work Monday morning at Oaklawn.

The addition of Tisdale would push the projected Rebel field to the maximum 14. If the race oversubscribes, starting preference is given to horses with the highest earnings. Tisdale ($54,700) would be No. 11 and bump Z Royal ($40,911) to the final available spot.

“If it wasn’t for everybody bringing in horses from everywhere, then I would wait and find another spot,” Moquett said. “If the gates are going to be filled full, with 14 horses, then two of them might as well be ours.”

The trainer added that if Tisdale bypasses the Rebel he will be under consideration for the $125,000 Northern Spur S. at Oaklawn and the $150,000 Lexington (G3) at Keeneland. Both races are at 1 1/16 miles and are scheduled for April 16.

“As far as physical reasons, he’s 100 percent ready to go” Moquett said of Tisdale.

Also scheduled to run in the Rebel are Suddenbreakingnews, American Dubai, Discreetness, Ralis, Cutacorner, Creator, Cherry Wine, Gray Sky, Siding Spring, Cupid and Spikes Shirl.

Southern California-based Ralis and Cupid are scheduled to be flown to Arkansas on Tuesday.

Post positions for the Rebel will be drawn Wednesday.

Photo of Whitmore breezing last Sunday courtesy of Oaklawn Park/Coady Photography