Oaklawn's top older male sprinter – again – is Whitmore, who reclaimed the title with a sharp 2 ½-length victory as the favorite in Saturday's $150,000 Hot Springs Stakes.
Co-owned and trained by Ron Moquett of Hot Springs, Whitmore ($3.60) won the Hot Springs for a record fourth consecutive year by covering 6 furlongs over a fast track in a meet-best 1:08.54, also a stakes record when timed in hundredths of a second. Chief of Affairs won the 2011 Hot Springs in 1:08.56. Whitmore won the 2018 Hot Springs in 1:08.57 and shares the stakes record (1:08 2/5) – when timed in fifths of a second – with Chief of Affairs and Double Ready, who won the race in 1984, before races at Oaklawn were timed in hundredths of a second.
Whitmore had won his first six local sprint starts, including five stakes, before finishing second to future Eclipse Award winner Mitole in last April's $500,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3). Whitmore, in his 7-year-old debut, then finished second to Share the Upside in the $125,000 King Cotton Stakes before recapturing the magic Saturday under Joe Talamo.
Whitmore won for the 13th time in 33 starts to increase his career earnings to $2,936,350. Moquett campaigns the Pleasantly Perfect gelding with Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners LLC (Sol Kumin).
Whitmore will be pointed for the $500,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 11, a race he won in 2017 and 2018. Arkansas-bred E J Harley won the Hot Springs in 1998, 1999 and 2000.
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