Whitmore Rallies for $150,000 Maryland Sprint (G3) Win


Whitmore Rallies for $150,000 Maryland Sprint (G3) Win

Southern Springs Stables, Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners’ Whitmore swept past dueling leaders A.P. Indian and Awesome Banner past the eighth pole to notch a popular half-length victory in the 31st running of the $150,000 Maryland Sprint (G3) Saturday at historic Pimlico Race Course.

It was the second straight graded-stakes triumph for Whitmore ($4.40), who was favored at 6-5 in a competitive field of nine accomplished sprinters, and his fifth consecutive win overall – all since being switched to sprint distances by trainer Ron Moquett.

A.P. Indian, a multiple Grade 1 winner last year and Eclipse Award finalist for champion sprinter, broke running and was joined up front by Holy Boss and 30-1 long shot Awesome Banner, as the trio battled through early fractions of 22.97 seconds for a quarter-mile, 46.95 for the half and 57.54 for five furlongs.

Holy Boss couldn’t keep up as A.P. Indian, the 8-5 second choice, on the outside and Awesome Banner to his right began to pull away until Whitmore came flying on the far outside to pass both and complete the six furlongs in a swift 1:09.90 over a main track labeled good.

A.P. Indian checked in second, a head in front of Awesome Banner. It was 5 ¾ lengths back to Holy Boss in fourth.

Whitmore was on the Triple Crown trail last winter and spring at Oaklawn Park and did well enough to earn a trip to the Kentucky Derby (G1) but was never in contention in a 19th-place finish. He didn’t race again for seven months and returned a sprinter, this year winning the Hot Springs Stakes and Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn.

Maryland Sprint Stakes (G3) Quotes

Winning Trainer Ron Moquett (Whitmore):
“I’m happy we came over. 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.

Winning Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. (Whitmore):
“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.”

Trainer Arnaud Delacour (A.P. Indian, 2nd):
“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 think he ran a really good race, but 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.

“I will be looking at the stakes races he ran in last year in New York, Belmont and Saratoga.”

Jockey Javier Castellano (Awesome Banner, 3rd):
“He broke really well. The horse gave me a good effort. He fought for me.”