CZ ROCKET GETS THE JUMP ON WHITMORE (AGAIN)
Hot Springs, Ark. (Saturday, April 10, 2021) – The third round of the budding rivalry between the nation’s top sprinters ended the same as the second round as Madaket Stables, Gary Barber and Tom Kagele’s C Z Rocket shot past Whitmore to take Saturday’s $500,000 Count Fleet Spring Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn.
The 7-year-old gelding under jockey Florent Geroux built on his photo-finish decision in the Hot Springs Stakes last month over the fan-favorite and three-time defending champion in the six-furlong showdown on the Arkansas Derby undercard.
Whitmore and jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. appeared poised to turn the tables after stalking the pace on the rail and finding a seam at the top of the stretch between horses, but C Z Rocket swept around the same wall of horses and carried the momentum to a two-length victory and pay $6.00, 2.60, and 2.20 as the second choice.
Whitmore ($2.60, 2.20) finished a clear second as the 11/10 favorite, 1 ½ lengths ahead of Empire of Gold, who paid $4.60 to show.
C Z Rocket, trained by Peter Miller, pushed his career earnings to $1,311,641 with his 11th victory from 22 starts. He finished second to Whitmore in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) to cap the 2020 campaign, but has now taken the two match-ups in 2021.