According to the Oaklawn Report for January 8th, there is a “50-50” chance that the promising three-year-old Whitmore will run in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes on January 18th at Oaklawn Park.
Trained by Ron Moquett, the son of Pleasantly Perfect–who breezed a half-mile in :48.40 over a muddy track at Oaklawn on January 8th–won his debut at Churchill Downs on November 6th in spectacular fashion, drawing away in the homestretch to defeat the talented Black Ops by 7 1/4 lengths. Fifteen days later, he tackled stakes company in the Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes (gr. III), but finished fifth after racing near the early pace.
“He doesn’t lack anything on talent,” Moquett was quoted as saying. “He wants to run a route of ground, but it’s about schooling and catching him up with everybody else.”
“If they were to split the Smarty Jones [into two divisions], where it’s two, eight-horse fields, I’d definitely run in the Smarty Jones,” Moquett said. “But, I don’t want to be going a flat mile here with 12 horses, which is what it will be. I just need some experience. He’s a little green, but he’s very, very talented.”
Should Whitmore pass the Smarty Jones Stakes, a January 16th allowance race at Oaklawn will mark his next start. “Our goal is to get to the Arkansas Derby ready to run,” Moquett said.
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