Set to make his first start since finishing second in the Grade 2 True North on Belmont Stakes Day, multiple graded stakes winner Whitmore will kick off his summer slate in the Grade 2, $350,000 Belmont Sprint Championship on Saturday at Belmont Park.
A Breeders' Cup Challenge Series “Win and You're In” race offering all fees paid to the winner for the Breeder's Cup Sprint in November at Churchill Downs, the Belmont Sprint Championship is one of five stakes races on the fifth annual Stars & Stripes Festival card joining the Grade 1, $1.2 million Belmont Derby Invitational, Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational, the Grade 3, $300,000 Dwyer and the Grade 2, $700,000 Suburban Handicap.
National TV coverage of Saturday's Stars & Stripes Racing Festival can be found on NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET followed by a special edition of Belmont Park Live from 6-7pm on FS2.
After a successful campaign last year in which he won three graded stakes highlighted by a win the Grade 2 Phoenix at Keeneland, Whitmore kicked off his 2018 season with a win in the Hot Springs on March 10 at Oaklawn Park. Following with a victory in the Grade 3 Count Fleet on April 14 at Oaklawn the 5-year-old gelding by Pleasantly Perfect entered the Grade 2 Churchill Downs on May 4 where he finished fourth. Most recently, he came up just short at the wire to lose by a neck in the Grade 2 True North on June 8.
Posting two workouts since that race, trainer Ron Moquett said Whitmore is in top form.
“He's doing very well,” said Moquett. “He came back very happy out of the True North and has been working well here at Churchill. He shipped into Belmont last night and I like him at seven-eighths. He's finished second going a mile and sixteenth in the Rebel and third at a mile and an eighth in the Arkansas Derby, so his distance is whatever the pace will allow us to run. We're taking things race by race starting Saturday, but we'll looking forward to it.”
With Ricardo Santana, Jr. in the irons, Whitmore will leave from post 2.
Looking to improve off a third-place in the Grade 1 Runhappy Metropolitan Mile is Limousine Liberal for owner Katherine G. Ball and trainer Ben Colebrook. A multiple graded stakes winner in his own right, the 6-year-old Successful Appeal gelding has one win from three starts this year, capturing the Grade 2 Churchill Downs in which he came from off the pace to win by a head. also besting Whitmore. He began his 2018 campaign with a second-place finish in the Grade 3 Commonwealth at Keeneland on April 7 and has an impressive four wins from nine starts, with two second-place finishes at the Belmont Sprint Championship distance of seven furlongs.
Drawing the rail, Limousine Liberal will be ridden by Jose Ortiz.
Leading Belmont spring/summer meet trainer Chad Brown enters Favorable Outcome for Klaravich Stables. The 4-year-old son of Flatter posted an impressive 102 Beyer Speed Figure in his most recent start finishing second in an optional-claiming race on May 17 at Belmont. Last year, he captured the Grade 2 Swale and finished third in the Grade 1 Malibu at Santa Anita.
With Javier Castellano aboard, Favorable Outcome will leave from post 6.
Rounding out the field is Eye Luv Lulu for owner Michael Dubb and trainer Jason Servis entering off a win in the Affirmed Success for New York-Breds on April 27 at Belmont; Shaft of Light for trainer Jorge Navarro and owners Al and Michelle Crawford Racing and Lewisfiel, for trainer Jeff Runco and owner Linda Zang.
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