|Whitmore||Diamond Oops||Yaupon||CZ Rocket||Collusion Illusion||Firenze Fire||7-11-10/2-3-8-6-1-12/5-13-9|
(Diamond Oops / Coady Photography)
Going into Saturday’s running of the G1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, many may consider the 7YO gelding Whitmore a little long in the tooth. And, there is absolutely no doubt, that he is a lot long in the experience department.
After all, so far in his very distinguished career, Whitmore has run at today’s 6-furlong distance a grand total of 23 times. That about as many times as the first four horses in the starting gate have run the distance — combined.
So far Whitmore has won 12 races at this 6 furlong distance. That is as many wins as CZ Rocket, Collusion Illusion, Coupon and Diamond Oops — combined. And, the 12 wins is twice as many as the next leading winner at the distance — Firenze Fire.
At Keeneland, Whitmore has already run 4 times — with a win and two seconds. That’s twice as many races over this surface than any other horse in the race.
And, if that’s not enough credentials, Whitmore is the only horse in the field that has run in the Breeders’ Cup before. And, he has done it multiple times.
The “Old Man” may have lost a step or two in his advanced age. But I can’t tell it. And, I can tell you one thing, to be sure. When the real racing begins? The “Old Man” is likely to be running his best.
I go with the “Old Man.” After all, I hope that I can run just as good when I get to be that age equivalent. Or, wait a second. Am I already there?
Here’s a look at our picks:
- Whitmore (Pleasantly Perfect — Melody’s Spirit, by Scat Daddy): The “Old Man” just ran 4th here in the G2 Phoenix Stakes on Oct. 2. Before that, he ran 7th in the G1 Forego Stakes at Belmont Park. Thus, I can understand some doubters looming. And, I can appreciate the 15-1 ML odds. But…And, there is always a “but.” But…This one ran 7 furlongs over a very sloppy track two races ago. For the most part, Whitmore does NOT do his best running over and through such conditions. Such is the life of a deep closer. And, last time out, in the Phoenix, the gelding was swung out a disastrous 6-wide in what can best be described as a rather interesting and compromising ride and journey. On Saturday, Whitmore will get the services of the best rider in North America — Irad Ortiz, Jr. Hmmmm. My pick.
- Diamond Oops (Lookin at Lucky — Patriotic Viva, Whywhywhy): Has raced at this sprint distance a total of 5 times in his career. Has 3 wins and a second. Just won the G2 Phoenix Stakes, too. May be the hottest sprinter — come sod or dirt — in the world, right now. Can close. Can speed. Can win. No doubt.
- Yaupon (Uncle Mo — Modification, by Vindication): Has raced four times in the career. All at this distance. All wins. Will be moving into G1 class category today and will move up to face older, too. Both are obstacles, and both are hills to climb. But this one has speed to burn and may go right to the front and not look back. Chance.
How Do We Play It?
I am going to bet the top two horses across the board and then box the top 3 numbers. I am going to key the top 2 over/under the “all button.”