Oaklawn News



HOT SPRINGS, AR (Saturday, April 15, 2017) – Whitmore remained undefeated sprinting and increased his 2017 Oaklawn record to a perfect 3 for 3 with his 3 ¾ length victory over Apprehender in Saturday’s $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3). Holy Boss was third.


After tracking in fifth early, Whitmore took command at the top of the stretch and impressively drew off to win the six furlong race in 1:08 1/5 under leading rider Ricardo Santana Jr. He returned $3, $2.60 and $2.10.


Whitmore, a 4-year-old Pleasantly Perfect gelding, races for Southern Springs Stable, Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners and his trained by Ron Moquett.


Count Fleet Quotes


Ricardo Santana Jr. (winner, Whitmore) — “He’s a really nice horse. He was in the position I wanted, from the outside, out of trouble. That was the instructions, ‘Don’t get in any trouble.’  Turning for home, he took his class out.”


“That's an unbelievable horse. (Whitmore) is one of the best horses that I ride right now. He broke good, he was in the position I wanted and he was in the perfect position for him. He didn't have any trouble, it was a clean trip. When he turned for home he (took his class out). He's a really good horse.”


Ron Moquett (winner, Whitmore) — “I think he’s still learning this new game, but he likes it a lot. It’s easy on him. Someone asked me earlier, ‘How did you teach him to sprint?’ I said, ‘That’s not the training feat. The training feat was getting him to be third in the Arkansas Derby and second in the Rebel.’ He’s always wanted to do this.”


“You always say, ‘Well if he duplicates the last race, then he’ll be hard to beat.’ And then in the last race he did. I knew there were some decent horses, and he duplicated it again. Today, I was really pleased he did it in this race. I’m in the barn named for Count Fleet; I wanted to win this race.”


Next race: “I’m going to talk to the partners, but I’ll have to ask the horse. He’s pretty honest, and he’ll tell me what to do.” (Says will “definitely” look at the $500,000 Churchill Downs (G2) at seven furlongs on the Kentucky Derby undercard. Ultimate goal is the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.)


Jockey Alex Birzer aboard runner up Apprehender: “He ran huge. Huge. Ran really well. You know last time he won, but we lost so much ground around the turn coming out of the corner. Today, I was able to save a lot of ground, before I had to wheel out. He will run inside of horses, but when you are going that fast you need to get him out and get him clear. Today I was able to save a lot of ground. Gene’s crew did a wonderful job getting this colt ready. I want to thank them.”


Mike Smith (rider, third place Holy Boss): “He ran great, just a neat horse. I mean, I love him. The winner is just really, really good right now. He’s at the top of his game. But my horse ran great. I can’t complain.”