Breeders' Cup 2014

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Whiting Deals With Mixed Results

Whiting Deals With Mixed Results
Photo: Oaklawn Park

Few racehorse skippers can keep an even keel the way Lynn Whiting does, so his another-day-at-the-Oaklawn-office attitude days after setbacks for two stakes runners and a flashy win for a would-be stakes star is no surprise.

Whiting said Wednesday that he “can’t be mad” at Officer Alex after a handful of things went wrong in his sixth-place attempt at Monday’s $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes. He also thinks there might be a reason Lady Stonewall faltered as the favorite in Sunday’s $60,000 Dixie Belle Stakes. He was satisfied Cyber Secret finally displayed his full talent in a rolling allowance race victory on Monday’s undercard.

Officer Alex was looking to build on a late 2012 victory in the Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes at Parx Racing and was a respectable fourth-choice in the betting for the one-mile, 3-year-old stakes kickoff. Moments after the gates opened, the colt’s holiday Monday turned into a manic Monday.

“He sort of missed the break right off,” said Whiting. “Then he ended up four wide, and when he came with his big run, he appears to have forgotten one of his shoes. His foot was alright, but it didn’t help him any. He tried to make a rally, but he really used himself up and going four wide in the middle of the track isn’t usually conducive to winning.”

Officer Alex checked in 13 ¼-lengths behind winner Will Take Charge.

Whiting didn’t find anything physically wrong with Lady Stonewall, the 3-year-old filly who ended up finishing almost 10 lengths behind American Sugar’s blowout performance in the six-furlong Dixie Belle. Whiting didn’t point to early traffic trouble for the daughter of Harlan's Holiday but he intimated the timing of her workouts and the week’s delay after the race was cancelled from opening weekend may have been to blame.

“She had a long workout at Churchill just before we left there and then I gave her two half-mile works once we got here,” he said. “It ended up being like 27 or 28 days since we gave her a long workout. I thought her strong suit was going to be her finish. Instead she didn’t have anything to offer. Maybe it was a lack of prep that she needed during that time that led to that.”

Officer Alex mirrored the way Cyber Secret started his 3-year-old campaign last January, with troubled trips that masked his true ability in races like the Southwest and Rebel Stakes. Officer Alex can hope he realizes his potential the way Cyber Secret did Monday in a 4 ¼-length romp in an optional allowance mile race.

“I’m glad he stepped up and ran like I had expected him to,” said Whiting. “I had really thought we were going to have a big fall with him and he just didn’t put it together. I was really happy to see him bring his ‘A’ race.”

Regardless of each horse’s performance, Whiting had the same answer for what would come next.

“We’ll get him (her) back and get to training on them a bit,” he said. “The stakes will stay on the drawing board and we will see where we are at.”

 

 

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