Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Whitmore Hoping to Race Before Heading Back to Oaklawn

Trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs already has horses on the grounds at Oaklawn in preparation for the 2017 meeting that begins Jan. 13. But, many of his most promising runners are still at Churchill Downs, which concludes its fall meeting Nov. 27.

Moquett said Whitmore, unraced since the May 7 Kentucky Derby, is “ready to run” and the hope is to find a sprint at Churchill before shipping to Oaklawn.

Whitmore returned to the work tab Oct. 2 at Churchill Downs and has seven published breezes there leading up to his possible comeback race this month, including a half-mile move in :47.80 Sunday morning over a fast track.

“Looking good,” Moquett said. “I would like to run him before heading south to Oaklawn. He’s ready for action.”

Whitmore, a gelded son of Pleasantly Perfect, was among the leading 3-year-olds at the 2016 Oaklawn meeting. He finished second in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3), second in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) and third in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1). Whitmore was “kicked out” for a lengthy break, Moquett said, after running 19th in the Kentucky Derby.

“He looks like maybe he’s gotten a little taller,” Moquett said. “But he’s still as muscular as he was.”

Whitmore is unbeaten in two career sprint starts, including a sharp 3 ¼-length entry-level allowance score in his 3-year-old debut last January at Oaklawn.

Moquett, who finished fourth in the 2016 Oaklawn trainer standings, also said three recent 2-year-old winners – Rockshaw, Torrent and Petrov – are under consideration for stakes races.

Rockshaw, a son of Maclean’s Music, broke his maiden Oct. 15 at Keeneland. Torrent, by 2010 champion older male Blame out of Oaklawn stakes winner Tidal Pool, broke her maiden by six lengths Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs. Petrov, a son of Flatter, won Saturday’s eighth race at Churchill.

Finish Lines

Oaklawn’s stable area opened Monday. The track opens for training next Monday in advance of the 2017 live meeting that begins Jan. 13. … Jon Court, Oaklawn’s leading jockey in 2000, has 3,997 career victories, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Court is named on four horses Wednesday at Churchill Downs and two Thursday at Churchill Downs. … Jockey Israel Ocampo, an Oaklawn regular, has 998 career victories, according to Equibase. Ocampo is named on three horses Wednesday at Remington Park and two Thursday at Remington. … Trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs said one-time Arkansas Derby candidate Tisdale had an equipment change during a lengthy vacation leading up to the 2017 meet that begins Jan. 13. Tisdale, a 3-year-old son of Friesan Fire, won two races at this year’s Oaklawn meeting before finishing last of 10 in the track’s $150,000 Northern Spur Stakes April 16 and, in his last start, third in a June 29 allowance/optional claimer at Delaware Park. Moquett said Tisdale was gelded after the two “lackluster” starts.

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