Edited Press Release
Whitmore worked a bullet half-mile in :48.20 Saturday morning at Oaklawn Park, the gelding’s first breeze since finishing second in the February 15 Southwest (G3).
The chestnut gelding is scheduled to make his next start in the $900,000 Rebel (G2) on March 19 at Oaklawn, the final major local prep for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) on April 16.
Whitmore, as he normally does, went in company and breezed over a fast surface about 20 minutes after the track opened. Under Greta Kuntzweiler, Whitmore worked inside stablemate Delilah, a three-year-old filly who is winless in three lifetime starts. She was credited with a half-mile in :48.80.
Co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett called Saturday’s work “a maintenance breeze.” He added that Kuntzweiler, who has over 550 career victories as a jockey, and wife/assistant/exercise rider Laura, “are the best soundboards we have” regarding Whitmore.
“Greta came back and said, ‘I sat still and let him do what he wanted to do, pretty much,’” Moquett said. “She said, ‘I could have went :44, if I had moved.’”
Moquett said Whitmore could work again Friday or next Saturday. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. is scheduled to ride Whitmore for the first time in the Rebel.
Four other Rebel candidates worked Saturday morning at Oaklawn in preparation for the Rebel.
Southwest winner Suddenbreakingnews went a half-mile in :51.20 after the renovation break for trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel.
Southwest third-place finisher American Dubai recorded a three-furlong bullet for trainer Rodney Richards in :36.20.
Mo for the Money, a powerful entry-level allowance winner on February 7 at Oaklawn, worked five furlongs in 1:01.80 after the break for trainer Tony Dutrow.
Unbeaten Dazzling Gem went a half-mile in :50 before the break for trainer Brad Cox.
Photo of Whitmore working on February 8 courtesy of Oaklawn Park/Coady Photography