(Whitmore turning for home in the G3 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap / Coady Photography & Courtesy of Oaklawn Park)
From the Oaklawn Park Media Team:
Oaklawn-loving Whitmore stepped up to the plate and easily defeated one of the toughest fields he’s faced in winning his third $350,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3).
The 3-1 favorite settled into fifth place as Bobby’s Wicked One and Share the Upside set the early pace through fractions of : 21 3/5 and :44 3/5 for the first half-mile. Whitmore began his move around the turn from home, drew clear in mid-stretch and had plenty left to hold off the late-running Flagstaff and Manny Wah. The winning time was 1:08 4/5 for six furlongs over a fast track.
“Hats off to (trainer) Ron Moquett,” jockey Joe Talamo said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to ride him three straight times now and each time he’s gotten stronger. That’s a testament to his conditioning. It was an interesting setup and I didn’t expect to get to the lead as early as I did. I had the perfect spot down the backstretch. What a racehorse. He doesn’t feel like a 7-year-old.”
The victory pushed Whitmore’s earnings over the $3 million mark to $3,146,350 and he has now won 14 races for owners Southern Springs Stables, Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners LLC. He returned $8.20, $4.20 and $3.
“I’m proud for him,” Moquett said. “I’m noticing lately people saying, ‘The great’ and ‘legendary.’ People that are saying that don’t throw around those words. To me, he’s been that. But it’s so cool to see this horse that has so many people that love him and follow him to be able to do what he does and to make a lot of people that happy. I wanted him to be on the inside, but he broke so well that he (Joe Talamo) had him in a position where he could … and Whitmore’s always going to argue with whatever you want. He just has that personality. He argues all the time. He has tried to get out. Sometimes, he tries to get in. But, he really just wants to mess with the rider. The jockey just took hold and let him do what he wanted to do. Then, whenever you ask him, he did what he’s supposed to do. It was so awesome.”
Whitmore also won the Count Fleet in 2017 and 2018. He was second last year to eventual champion Mitole.
Live racing resumes Sunday with a 1p.m. first post. While no fans are permitted to experience racing onsite during this time, they can watch and wager through OaklawnAnywhere.com or any ADW of their choice.