Oaklawn news: Whitmore turns in bullet work for 2019 debut

Oaklawn Barn Notes
March 02, 2019 03:17pm

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 Mohquett 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 five 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 five 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 (three-furlong pole to the seven-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.

Four of a Kind

Trainer Robertino Diodoro saddled four winners Friday, including three for leading owner M and M Racing (Mike and Mickala Sisk).  

Diodoro won the second race with favored It Is Dejavu ($2.60), fourth race with favored Powerful Thirst ($6.60), fifth race with favored Fault Line ($3) and the ninth race with favored Industrialist ($5).

“It was definitely a good day, and everything lined up yesterday for once,” Diodoro said Saturday morning. “We’ve just had a lot of bad luck, weird things happening. The one thing I was getting frustrated with is I just kept saying that we’ve got too good a barn and too good of a team to continue to, which I consider, fail. Some guys say, ‘Well, you’re second or third in the standings and have 10 wins and everything is good.’ No, that’s not good. We’re not settling for mediocrity, especially at a meet like this. This is our big meet for many reasons. Seconds and thirds in the races and second and third in the standings is not good enough my mind. We’re here for more than that.”

Diodoro’s career day at Oaklawn vaulted him to second in the standings after 21 days of the scheduled 57-day meeting. Diodoro had 14 victories though Friday, four less than perennial champion and Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen. Diodoro finished second behind Asmussen in 2017 and 2018 at Oaklawn.

Asked if he has the horsepower to dethrone Asmussen in 2019, Diodoro said, “That’s our goal.”

“I know he’s tough,” Diodoro said. “He’s so tough. He’s an animal.”

David Cohen rode Diodoro’s first three winners Friday. Orlando Mojica was aboard Industrialist, a full brother to Grade 1 winner Collected who ran fourth in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) in 2016 at Oaklawn for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. On behalf of Lewis Mathews of Bismarck, Ark., 2015 Oaklawn training champion Chris Hartman claimed Industrialist out of his victory for $25,000. Mathews is being known for campaigning multiple Oaklawn stakes winner and millionaire Ivan Fallunovalot.

The triple gave M and M a meet-best 20 victories. M and M captured its first career owner’s title last year at Oaklawn with 21 victories.

Finish Lines
Wonder Gadot, a finalist for a Sovereign Award as Canada’s champion 3-year-old filly of 2018, is scheduled to make her 4-year-old debut in Friday's eighth race, an $87,000 allowance at a mile, for trainer Mark Casse. Wonder Gadot beat males in the first two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown, including the $1 million Queen’s Plate last June at Woodbine. Wonder Gadot has breezed twice this year at Oaklawn and Casse said the filly’s major spring target is the $750,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) for older fillies and mares April 14. … Grade 3 winner Dalmore worked five furlongs in 1:01.80 after the renovation break Saturday morning for trainer Anthony Quartarolo. … Frosted Ice, a candidate for the $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds March 16, worked a half-mile in :50.40 Saturday morning for trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs. Frosted Ice hasn’t started since winning the $150,000 Bertram F. Bongard Stakes Sept. 21 at Belmont Park. … Six-time defending riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr. rode his meet-high 27th winner Friday in Fairwayngreen ($7.60). It was the first winner Santana has ridden for trainer F. Dewaine Loy in his career.  


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