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Whitmore Threepeats Hot Springs

Whitmore Threepeats Hot Springs

HOT SPRINGS, AR – For the third straight year, trainer Ron Moquett’s prized sprinter Whitmore came motoring down the stretch like a freight train en route to capturing Saturday’s Hot Springs Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

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Reluctant to load prior to breaking from the rail as the prohibitive 3/5 favorite under Ricardo Santana, Jr., Whitmore settled into midpack while Share the Upside and Welder dueled through opening fractions of :22.22 and :45.08. Running three-wide at the top of the stretch, Whitmore found his best stride and blew past the pacesetters with relative ease before crossing with a 1 1/2-length advantage in a final time of 1:09.39 for the 6-furlong sprint over the fast main track.

“He has been training really good in the morning, so we had a lot of confidence in him,” said Santana, Jr. “He broke pretty good and I stayed behind the speed. That’s where I wanted to be. In the stretch, he looked for the clear and he took me to the wire. He’s a really good horse. I had plenty of horse and I had the position I wanted to be in. It was perfect for me. He’s a class act.”

While they were unable to match strides with the winner, Share the Upside and Welder continued dueling gamely to the wire, with the former crossing a 1/2-length better than the latter. Far behind them, Control Stake and Heartwood completed the order of finish. Whitmore’s stablemate Petrov, set to make his 5-year-old debut, was scratched.

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Whitmore’s win was his first since taking the Forego Stakes (G1) at Saratoga last August and improved his overall record to 25-12-7-2. The 6-year-old gelded son of Pleasantly Perfect increased his lifetime bankroll to $2,471,000 and will also attempt to three-peat the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) here on April 13.

“He was about 75% today,” Moquett said. “I know him and it’s a lot better for us to bring him to a race like this and let him have a race. If he gets tired, it’s my fault, but I’m just going to take care of the horse. The gate guys did great. They showed patience and horsemanship. I’m so appreciative that they’re willing to work with the horse instead of trying to overpower him.”

Whitmore returned $3.20 to win and $2.20 to place, while Share the Upside paid $2.60 to place. There was no show betting.

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