Whitmore completed major preparations for his scheduled 2019 debut in the $150,000 Hot Springs Stakes for older sprinters March 9 with a half-mile bullet workout just after the track opened Saturday morning at Oaklawn for co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs.
Whitmore, Oaklawn's top older sprinter the last two years, covered the distance over a fast track in :47.20 under Greta Kuntzweiler. Whitmore breezed with stablemate Petrov, whose major spring objective is the inaugural $250,000 Oaklawn Mile May 3. Petrov was also timed in :47.20. Clockers caught Whitmore in :59.60 for 5 furlongs and galloping out three-quarters of a mile in 1:14.80.
“I was pleased with everything,” Moquett said.
Whitmore is unbeaten in his last five Oaklawn starts – all sprints – including the Hot Springs and $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) the last two years. Whitmore hasn't started since finishing second in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs.
A busy morning featured several other notable workers, including 2018 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Shamrock Rose, who breezed 5 furlongs in 1:00 just after the track opened under David Cohen. Shamrock Rose, who worked with stablemate Lookin for Eight, is pointing for the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) March 16, trainer Mark Casse said.
Springboard Mile winner Long Range Toddy and stablemate Laughing Fox, a two-time winner at the meeting, breezed together before the renovation break for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. Both colts were timed in 1:00.80. Long Range Toddy has competed in Oaklawn's first two Kentucky Derby points races, finishing second in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 25 and third in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 18. Oaklawn's Kentucky Derby prep series continues with the $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2) March 16.
Workers after the renovation break included Motion Emotion for trainer Tom Van Berg and Nanoosh for trainer Robertino Diodoro.
Motion Emotion, under 2000 Oaklawn riding champion Jon Court, went a half-mile (3-furlong pole to the 7-furlong pole) in :50. A two-time winner at the meeting, Motion Emotion is pointing for the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies March 9, Van Berg said. Motion Emotion worked with stablemate Arrival.
Nanoosh, winner of the $250,000 Zia Park Derby Nov. 21 at Zia Park, worked a half-mile in :49.20. Diodoro said Nanoosh is pointing for the $350,000 Essex Handicap for older horses March 16.
Rebel candidate Gray Attempt galloped near the end of training hours for trainer Jinks Fires of Hot Springs. Gray Attempt won the Smarty Jones in his 3-year-old debut.
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