After landing a knockdown punch against reigning sprint champion Whitmore in last month’s Hot Springs S., C Z Rocket connected with another, more decisive one in Saturday’s $500,000 Count Fleet Sprint H. (G3) at Oaklawn Park under Florent Geroux.
Enjoying a trip similar to the one he had in the Hot Springs, C Z Rocket rated near the back of the field with a hot pace unfolding up front, advanced into contention on the turn, made a six-wide rally into the stretch, and slingshot into a lead that would grow to two lengths at the finish.
Whitmore, meanwhile, had to wait for a seam to open up between rivals in upper stretch, but when it finally did, C Z Rocket had all the momentum going for him.
“We did lose a lot of ground, but it’s better than getting stopped,” said winning trainer Peter Miller. “Whitmore’s a great horse. I’m sorry one of them had to lose.”
Owned by Madaket Stables, Gary Barber, and Tom Kagele, C Z Rocket returned $6 after completing six furlongs over a fast track in 1:09.62. Finishing behind runner-up Whitmore were Empire of Gold, Strike Power, Mojo Man, Mr. Jagermeister, and No Parole.
C Z Rocket has now taken two of three meetings against Whitmore, though the latter landed the biggest prize last fall with a 3 1/4 length win over C Z Rocket in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).
Claimed for $40,000 by his present connections last April, C Z entered the Breeders’ Cup with back-to-back victories in the Pat O’ Brien (G2) and Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G2). The former was at Del Mar, host site for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
A seven-year-old gelded son of City Zip, C Z Rocket was bred in Florida by Farm III Enterprises. Produced by the Grade 3-placed Successful Sarah, by Successful Appeal, C Z Rocket now sports a line of 25-11-2-2, $1,311,641.
At a distance slightly shorter than he prefers, By My Standards was just up to deny 9-5 favorite Rushie by a nose in the $400,000 Oaklawn Mile.
Under Gabe Saez, By My Standards endured a much wider trip than Rushie, who hugged the rail throughout. But the class of By My Standards proved slightly too much to overcome as the five-year-old ended a two-race losing skid in a time of 1:37.82. Wells Bayou ran third.
“Gabe just rode a great race,” trainer Bret Calhoun said. “Fortunate enough to get him in a good spot early. It took every bit of that stretch to get there. It was a great race.”
Owned by Allied Racing Stable and Spendthrift Farm, By My Standards paid $6.80.
Winner at three of the Louisiana Derby (G2), By My Standards added the New Orleans Classic (G2), Oaklawn H. (G2), and Alysheba (G2) last season while also placing in the Stephen Foster (G2) and Whitney (G1). However, he finished far back in both the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and Clark (G1) to close out his campaign.
Now a multi-millionaire, the Kentucky-bred son of Goldencents was produced by the Grade 2-placed stakes winner A Jealous Woman, by Muqtarib.
Edgeway got the jump on even-money favorite Frank’s Rockette, and ultimately the money, in the $250,000 Carousel S. for fillies and mares.
The 13-10 second choice in the six-furlong dash, Edgeway advanced from third to first approaching the quarter pole, repelled a bid from the favorite in deep stretch, and won by three parts of a length in a time of 1:10.13. Joel Rosario was aboard for owner Kosta Hronis and trainer John Sadler.
Edgeway, who paid $4.60, was winning for the third in four starts at Oaklawn and for the fourth time in six starts overall. It was also the first stakes win for the four-year-old daughter of Competitive Edge, who placed previously placed in the 2020 editions of the Purple Martin S. at Oaklawn and Dogwood S. at Churchill Downs.
The Kentucky-bred Edgeway was produced by the stakes-winning Magical Solution, a Stormin Fever half-sister to Grade 1 winner The Lumber Guy.