Whitmore Excellent Once Again in Maryland Sprint

May 20, 2017 11:38am
Whitmore wins 2017 Maryland Sprint
Photo: Maryland Jockey Club

Horse racing fans received the showdown they hoped for in the $150,000, Grade 3 Maryland Sprint at Pimlico. The two favorites, A. P. Indian and Whitmore, provided a thrilling finish in the six-furlong affair. On the wire, it was the streaking Whitmore for the win, coming home on a good track to miss the track record by nine-tenths of a second.


The seven-year-old gelding, A. P. Indian broke from post four, with Joe Bravo aboard, and the pair snatched the lead right out of the gate. To their outside was Whitmore and Ricardo Santana, Jr. in post five. At first it looked like Whitmore would sit just outside of A. P. Indian, while Holy Boss drew up on the outside in third. Instead of letting Whitmore duel the whole way, Santana backed his mount into fourth, and Awesome Banner moved up into third on the outside.


A. P. Indian led the field through the first half-mile in :22.97 and :45.67. He still held the lead turning for home and seemed to have the advantage on the speed favoring surface. Classy Class was to the inside of Whitmore and tried to move up the rail, leaving Santana facing a wall of three horses rounding the final turn.


Whitmore was guided out four wide and set down for a drive in the middle of the track. Holy Boss, in between A. P. Indian and Awesome Banner, tried to go with them but fell out of contention. At the eighth pole, A. P. Indian was still hanging on over longshot Awesome Banner, but the threat of Whitmore on the outside was imminent. A. P. Indian was able to hold on for second by a head, but it was Whitmore to win by half a length, reaching the wire in 1:09.90.


As the 6-5 favorite, Whitmore paid $4.40, $2.80 and $2.40. A. P. Indian was a close second choice at 8-5 and delivered $2.80 and $2.60 to show. At 30-1, Awesome Slew returned $6.60 for his efforts. Completing the order of finish was Holy Boss, Laki, Classy Class, Sonny Inspired, Never Gone South and Rockinn On Bye.


“I’m happy we came over,” said winning trainer Ron Moquett. “I said that it was going to take a track record to win this, but that was before the rain yesterday. I know he’s a fast horse and he’s running against very fast horses. I’ve got a lot of confidence in Ricardo. I told him that he was on the best horse and ride him with confidence. I know how he finishes. He closes like a freight train. Our goal is the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.”


Santana added, “I have a lot of confidence in this horse. He’ll run in any position you put him in – in front or off the pace. He broke good and just sat back comfortably. The second they cleared, he broke away running. He was getting out when dirt was hitting him in the face a little bit, but I had confidence in him. As soon as I asked him, he started running.”


As for A. P. Indian’s performance, trainer Arnaud Delacour commented, “I thought he ran a good race. I’m not sure that he wanted to be in front like that. Obviously, the winner is a really nice horse and came with a huge run at the end. We were probably second-best on the day, I think… I do think this division is really tough this year. There’s a couple of horses that I think are very good horses, and A. P. Indian is one of them. But it’s a little tougher than last year.”


Whitmore, a four-year-old son of Pleasantly Perfect, did not pan out on the Kentucky Derby trail last year, finishing 19th while only beating Shagaf, who did not finish. Despite the setback, the chestnut gelding has proven unbeatable as a sprinter. Whitmore has seven wins in twelve starts after the Maryland Sprint, and each of those wins have come at sprinting distances. He has now earned $967,000 for owners Southern Springs Stables, Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners LLC, and looks sure to hit that million-dollar mark soon.



By Christine Oser


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