July 16, 2024

Whitmore seeks third win in Count Fleet Sprint

Whitmore winning the 2017 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) (c) Oaklawn Park/Coady Photography

A Grade 1-winning earner of more than $2.9 million, Whitmore loves Oaklawn Park and will pursue his third victory in Saturday’s $350,000 Count Fleet Sprint H. (G3), a staple of the Racing Festival of South at the Hot Springs, Arkansas venue. The veteran 7-year-old gelding captured back-to-back editions of the 6-furlong sprint before coming up short in second to eventual champion sprinter Mitole last year.

A chestnut son of Pleasantly Perfect, Whitmore will make his third start of the season for Ron Moquett. He exits a sharp score in the March 7 Hot Springs S., registering a 104 Brisnet Speed rating for the 2 1/2-length decision, and improved his record to 13-8-4-1 locally. Joe Talamo retains the mount on the talented late runner.

Hidden Scroll was favored at 6-5 in last year’s Fountain of Youth (G2) after a sensational debut win at Gulfstream Park, but his season went off the rails with three straight losses and the Hard Spun colt headed to the sidelines in early May. The 4-year-old returned from a 10-month hiatus with a dazzling 12-length win in an entry-length allowance at Gulfstream most recently, netting a 106 Brisnet Speed figure, and the Bill Mott trainee will likely show early speed with new jockey Martin Garcia.

Bobby’s Wicked One promises to be part of the pace scenario following a pair of easy front-running stakes wins at Fair Grounds. The Grade 3-winning chestnut displayed fine class for Al Stall Jr. last season, and his triple-digit Brisnet Speed numbers stamp him as a major contender if he takes to the Oaklawn surface. Miguel Mena will be in to ride.

Share the Upside upset Whitmore in the Feb. 8 King Cotton, leading wire-to-wire for Steve Asmussen, and the gelding will try to rebound following a fifth in the Hot Springs. Florent Geroux takes over the assignment. Grade 1 hero Hog Creek Hustle will be running late. The Greg Foley-trained 4-year-old is eligible to receive a favorable setup after a couple of stakes placings this season, and Drayden Van Dyke will take the call.

Flagstaff will invade for John Sadler following a rallying win in the March 7 San Carlos (G2) at Santa Anita. Joel Rosario takes over on the 6-year-old gelding. Other runners include Mr. Jagermeister and Wendell Frog, second and third respectively in the Hot Springs; Oaklawn stakes winner Nitrous, who will make his first start since mid-September for Asmussen; and Grade 3 scorer Lexitonian, who was last seen posting a close third in the Phoenix (G2) at Keeneland last October.