Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Whitmore Taking Moquett Back to the Breeders’ Cup
Ron Moquett of Hot Springs is heading back to the Breeders’ Cup. He co-owns and trains multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Whitmore, who earned a preliminary Beyer Speed Figure of 96 for his nose victory in the $250,000 Phoenix Stakes (G2) Friday at Keeneland.
The 6-furlong Phoenix was a “Win and You’re In” event for the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) Nov. 4 at Del Mar.
Moquett, who finished the 2017 Oaklawn’s meet sixth in the trainer standings, has had two Breeders’ Cup starters, the last coming in 2013 with the recently retired Gentlemen’s Bet, who finished third in the Sprint.
Whitmore was the top sprinter at this year’s Oaklawn meet, winning all three starts, including the $125,000 Hot Springs Stakes March 11 and the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 15.
Ridden in the Phoenix by Manny Franco, Whitmore covered the distance over a fast track in 1:09.90 and paid $8.80 as the 3-1 third choice. He is 5 for 7 this year and 8 for 15 overall, bankrolling $1,172,000. The 4-year-old Pleasantly Perfect gelding races for Moquett’s Southern Springs Stable, Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners LLC.
Moquett had called the Breeders’ Cup Sprint the year-end target for Whitmore during the Oaklawn meeting that ended April 15.
Work All Week won the Hot Springs, Phoenix and Breeders’ Cup Sprint in 2014 en route to an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion male sprinter. Oaklawn-raced A.P. Indian won last year’s Phoenix before running third in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint and finishing third in voting for champion male sprinter.
Gentlemen’s Bet won the 2015 Hot Springs for Moquett.
Finley’sluckycharm, an allowance/optional claiming winner at the 2016 Oaklawn meeting, captured the $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (G2) by 1 ¾ lengths Saturday at Keeneland. The 6-race was a “Win and You’re In” event for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) Nov. 4 at Del Mar.
Trained by Bret Calhoun, Finley’sluckycharm covered the distance over a fast track in 1:10.01 and paid $3.60 as the 4-5 favorite. Brian Hernandez Jr. rode the winner for owner Carl R. Moore Management Inc.
Finley’sluckycharm, a 4-year-old daughter of Twirling Candy, won for the ninth time in 12 lifetime starts to increase her earnings to $593,368. She is a five-time stakes winner.
Saturday’s second race at Keeneland, an allowance/optional claimer for fillies and mares at about 7 furlongs, was won by favored Kathballu for trainer Kenny McPeek. She also won the $125,000 Spring Fever Stakes for older female sprinters March 4 at Oaklawn. In Saturday’s 1 ¼-length victory, Kathballu ($5.20) ran the about distance in 1:27.09 under Florent Geroux.
McPeek won seven races this year at Oaklawn.
The Power of Snunner
Favored Power of Snunner was a head winner of the $100,000 Plum Pretty Stakes for registered Pennsylvania-bred fillies and mares Saturday at Parx.
Power of Snunner ($4.60) ran twice this year at Oaklawn, finishing second in the $150,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) Feb. 18 and fourth in the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) March 18.
First, second or third in 27 of 33 lifetime starts, Power of Snunner raised her career earnings to $562,310 with her Plum Pretty victory. Power of Snunner ran 1 1/16 over a fast track in 1:47.68 under Dana Whitney.
Ramon Vazquez, Oaklawn’s second-leading rider the last three years, recorded his 1,000th North American victory Thursday at Remington Park, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Vazquez also has 1,567 career victories in his native Puerto Rico, where he was a leading apprentice, according to Equibase. Vazquez began riding in the United States in 2011 and has 204 victories at Oaklawn since 2012. He rode five winners Thursday at Remington, reaching the career milestone aboard Eurobond for major client Danny Caldwell, Oaklawn’s leading owner the last four years. … Cistron, winner of the $150,000 Northern Spur Stakes for 3-year-olds April 15 at Oaklawn, ran third in the $75,000 Obviously Mile Stakes Saturday at Santa Anita. … Oaklawn-raced Hogy ran second in the $200,000 Woodford Stakes Saturday at Keeneland. … American Anthem, 10th as the favorite in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds March 18 at Oaklawn, was third in the $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) Saturday at Santa Anita. … Gun Runner worked 5 furlongs over a fast track in 1:01.60 Monday at Santa Anita in preparation for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Nov. 4 at Del Mar. Gun Runner, who won the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) Feb. 20 at Oaklawn, remained No. 1 in the weekly National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Top Thoroughbred Poll for horses of all age released Monday. Oaklawn-raced Collected (third), Stellar Wind (fourth) and Mor Spirit (ninth) are also ranked in the top 10.