March 3, 2024

Oaklawn king Whitmore wins third Count Fleet Sprint

Whitmore recording his third win in the Count Fleet Sprint H. (G3) at Oaklawn Park (c) Coady Photography

Now a seven-time Oaklawn Park stakes winner, Whitmore notched his third victory in $350,000 Count Fleet Sprint H. (G3) on Saturday. The 7-year-old gelding rallied to a clear lead off the far turn and held the fast-finishing Flagstaff safe by three-quarters of a length.

Ron Moquett trains the classy veteran, who pushed his career earnings past the $3-million mark ($3,146,350), and Joe Talamo was up as Whitmore completed 6-furlongs in 1:08.95.

Campaigned by Robert V. LaPenta, Southern Springs Stables, and Head of Plains Partners, Whitmore captured back-to-back runnings of the Count Fleet Sprint (2017-18) before finishing second to eventual sprint champion Mitole in last year’s edition. He improved his local mark to 14-9-4-1.

The slight 3-1 favorite among 11 rivals, Whitmore raced in midpack, sixth through an opening quarter-mile in :21.69, before advancing closer on the far turn. He swung wide into the stretch full of run, surging to a clear lead inside the sixteenth pole. Flagstaff, the 7-2 third choice, closed boldly from far off the pace after a slow start, passing eight rivals in the final quarter-mile, but had to settle for second.

It was another half-length back to Manny Wah, who made up ground along the inside to be a clear third at 74-1. Nitrous came next in fourth, and was followed by Wendell Frog, Share the Upside, 7-2 second choice Hidden Scroll, Hog Creek Hustle, Mr. Jagermeister, and Lexitonian. Bobby’s Wicked One was eased through the stretch after contesting the early pace.

Bred in Kentucky by John Liviakis, Whitmore is now a 10-time stakes victor. He was exiting a fourth consecutive tally in the March 7 Hot Springs S. His career record reads 33-13-10-3, including a win in the 2018 Forego (G1) at Saratoga. Whitmore also finished second in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Churchill Downs, and third in last year’s Sprint at Santa Anita.

A son of Pleasantly Perfect, Whitmore is out of the unraced Scat Daddy mare Melody’s Spirit.