Whitmore Seeks Third Count Fleet Win
Photo Copyright Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields for TVG
There are a pair of prestigious stakes on Saturday at Oaklawn Park, with the $350,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) drawing a competitive field of 11. Whitmore will be attempting to become the first horse to win the race three times, after scoring in 2017 and 2018.
Long known as an Oaklawn specialist, Whitmore has won eight of 13 over the course and has never been worse than third. The Grade 1 winning millionaire won the local prep for this race, the Hot Springs, on March 7. Ron Moquett trains the seven-year-old Pleasantly Perfect gelding, who will be ridden by Joe Talamo for the third time this year. Last year, Whitmore finished second in this race behind future Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) hero Mitole.
If Whitmore were to struggle, Share the Upside could be dangerous. The five-year-old gelding by Maclean’s Music defeated Whitmore in the King Cotton here on February 8. Florent Geroux will ride the Steve Asmussen trainee for the first time; the pair is 10-1 on the morning line. Share the Upside is four for six over this course.
Hidden Scroll was on the Kentucky Derby trail last year after a smashing 14 length win in the slop at Gulfstream Park. He was fourth in the Fountain of Youth and sixth in the Florida Derby – both times as the favorite – before he went to the sidelines from May until March 1 of this year. The Juddmonte Farms homebred by Hard Spun returned to win a sprint allowance by more than a dozen lengths for trainer Bill Mott. Martin Garcia will have the call for this.
Bobby’s Wicked One has won two straight stakes, both at the Fair Grounds. The son of Speightstown hasn’t run since January 18, but trainer Al Stall has worked him eight times since then, including three times over the surface. Bobby’s Wicked One has won five of eight over the six-furlong distance. Miguel Mena will ride.
Flagstaff is 7-2 on the morning line following a game victory in the San Carlos (G2) at Santa Anita March 7. The gelded son of Speightstown has won three of his last five starts and five of 11 overall. Trainer John Sadler worked him through a bullet five eighths on April 12, then shipped here for this spot. Joel Rosario will have the call.
Hog Creek Hustle is 15-1 on the morning line, but should benefit from a cut back in distance. He was an upset Grade 1 winner of the Woody Stephens last year at Belmont Park, then ran second by a nose in the Grade 1 H Allen Jerkens at Saratoga. He has struggled since, but was third in the Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) on February 29 and now cuts back.
Lexitonian would be a surprise, but has done that before. The Speightstown colt runs for Calumet Farm and trainer Jack Sisterson, and was 17-1 when he won the Chick Lang (G3) at Pimlico last year. He added the Concern Stakes at Laurel in July, then ran third, beaten just a half-length, in a Grade 2 at Keeneland. He has been off since October 4, but has worked three bullets at Keeneland in the last five weeks.
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