WHITMORE'S impressive victory in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) was perhaps the most heartwarming story of the weekend. I was lucky to see him run third in 2018 at Churchill Downs alongside some of his stable crew, who had been enjoying several Tito's Vodka cocktails throughout the day. As excited as they were for that third place finish in 2018, I can only imagine the party they threw last night after WHITMORE finally secured his Breeders' Cup Sprint title after four tries.
The veteran gelding saved ground early and rallied from tenth to run down his rivals in the stretch and winning by a 3 1/4 length victory over C Z ROCKET and EMPIRE OF GOLD. The main track was all about speed early in the day, but as the later races drew near you started to see more of the stalkers and closers take command. That and perhaps a bit of sass (WHITMORE double barrel kicked out at the gate crew) was what he needed to get past the wire first.
Moquett depended on jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. to give the gelding the ride he needed and Ortiz did just that. "He had a great trip. We wanted to break and have him relax and that's what we did. He relaxed so good. I was able to cut the corner on the turn and when I tipped him out he just exploded. He's a nice horse. He's been running for so many years. He's a warrior," says Ortiz.
"To be the fastest horse in the world, you have to beat the fastest horses in the world. And today, we're the fastest," said trainer Ron Moquett. "For a big old grumpy gelding, he has a lot of girls wrapped around his finger."
Whitmore was bred in Kentucky by John Liviakis and is one of three starters out of the unraced mare MELODY'S SPIRIT by SCAT DADDY. WHITMORE is by PLEASANTLY PERFECT. Ron Moquett purchased the unraced WHITMORE for $35,000 off a photo that was sent to him by Jeff Mackor II. WHITMORE has since earned $4.2 million.
Photo: Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup/CSM