The 2020 renewal of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) on Saturday did not feature perhaps the season’s best specialist in Volatile nor morning line favorite Vekoma, who was scratched earlier in the week. Nonetheless, the race produced a rewarding outcome when the gallant gelding Whitmore finally proved triumphant in his fourth attempt at the 6-furlong fixture.
Saving ground in the back half of the field until upper stretch, Whitmore came with a burst when tipped into the three path down the stretch and won going away by 3 1/4 lengths under Irad Ortiz Jr.
“We wanted to break and have him relax and that’s what we did. He relaxed so good,” Ortiz said. “I was able to cut the corner on the turn and when I tipped him out he just exploded. He’s a nice horse. He’s been running for so many years. He’s a warrior.”
Owned by Robert LaPenta, Head of Plains Partners, and trainer Ron Moquett, Whitmore returned $38.80 after covering the distance in 1:08.61 over a fast track.
Second choice C Z Rocket beat Firenze Fire for second by a neck. Completing the order of finish were Empire of Gold, Manny Wah, Diamond Oops, Hog Creek Hustle, 13-10 favorite Yaupon, Lasting Legacy, Bon Raison, Frank’s Rockette, Collusion Illusion, Echo Town, and Jasper Prince.
Although a 2016 Kentucky Derby (G1) participant after placing in all three of Oaklawn Park’s graded classic preps, Whitmore’s subsequent career highlights have all come around one turn. His graded tallies include the Forego (G1), the Phoenix (G2), two editions of the Count Fleet Sprint (G3), and the Maryland Sprint (G3), plus an incredible four renewals of the Hot Springs S. at Oaklawn.
In three prior Breeders’ Cup Sprint attempts, Whitmore finished eighth to Roy H at Del Mar in 2017, second to Roy H at Churchill Downs in 2018, and third to Mitole at Santa Anita in 2019. The 7-year-old now boasts a career mark of 38-15-11-3, $4,247,850.
“I’m proud for everyone out there that’s thinking when you run last in the Kentucky Derby, kick them out, do right by the horse come back, and you have a shot to reach other dreams. You don’t discard them. You just do right by the horse and it keeps working out,” Moquett said.
A son of 2003 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Pleasantly Perfect, Whitmore was produced by Melody’s Spirit, by Scat Daddy. He was bred in Kentucky by John Liviakis.