worked a bullet half-mile in :48 1/5 the morning of Feb. 27 at Oaklawn Park
, the gelding's first breeze since finishing second in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (gr. III) Feb. 15. He is scheduled to make his next start in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. II) March 19 at Oaklawn, the final major local prep for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. I) at the Arkansas oval April 16.
Whitmore, as he normally does, went in company and breezed over a fast surface about 20 minutes after the track opened. Under Greta Kuntzweiler, Whitmore worked inside stablemate Delilah
, a 3-year-old filly who is winless in three lifetime starts. She was credited with a half-mile in :48 4/5.
Co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs called Saturday's work "a maintenance breeze." He added Kuntzweiler, who has over 550 career victories as a jockey, and wife/assistant/exercise rider Laura, "are the best soundboards we have" regarding Whitmore.
"Greta came back and said, 'I sat still and let him do what he wanted to do, pretty much,' " Moquett said. "She said, 'I could have went :44, if I had moved.' "
Moquett said Whitmore could work again March 4 or March 5. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. is scheduled to ride Whitmore for the first time in the Rebel.
Four other Rebel candidates worked Saturday morning at Oaklawn in preparation for the Rebel.
Southwest winner Suddenbreakingnews
went a half-mile in :51 1/5 after the renovation break for trainer Donnie Von Hemel.
Third-place Southwest finisher American Dubai
recorded a three-furlong bullet (:36 1/5) for trainer Rodney Richards.
Mo for the Money
, a powerful entry-level allowance winner Feb. 7 at Oaklawn, worked five furlongs in 1:01 4/5 after the break for trainer Tony Dutrow.
Unbeaten Dazzling Gem
went a half-mile in :50 before the break for trainer Brad Cox.
In non-Rebel news, trainer Steve Asmussen said Saturday morning "the hope, obviously," would be for champion Untapable
to make her 5-year-old debut in the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (gr. II) March 19 at Oaklawn.
Untapable, who arrived Feb. 25 in Hot Springs after previously being based at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots
, ran second in last year's Azeri. She was making her first start since capping her 3-year-old season with a victory in the 2014 Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) that secured her an Eclipse Award as the country's champion 3-year-old filly, and this year would be making her first start since being declared from the 2015 Distaff because of a temperature.
Asmussen said he also hopes to run Terra Promessa
in the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies March 12 and Carve
in the $350,000 Razorback Handicap (gr. III) for older horses March 19.
Terra Promessa, a daughter of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin
, was a nine-length entry-level allowance Feb. 5 at Oaklawn in her 3-year-old debut. Carve ran third in the $100,000 Essex Handicap Feb. 13 at Oaklawn, his first start since returning to Asmussen's barn last year.
Another Razorback contender on the Oaklawn grounds is multiple stakes winner Far Right
, who emerged in good order from his neck victory in the eighth race Feb. 25, a conditioned allowance/optional claimer for older horses at 1 1/16 miles.
The victory snapped a five-race losing streak for Far Right, who won the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes and $300,000 Southwest Stakes at last year's Oaklawn meeting before running second to American Pharoah
in the Arkansas Derby.
Reunited Thursday with three-time Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr., the late-running Far Right overcame a dawdling pace to nip front-running Abraham
at the wire.
"The jock felt confident and didn't have to use him too much," Moquett said. "It all worked out good."
Moquett was using the race as a prep for the Razorback, which is the final major local prep for the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) April 16, Far Right's major spring objective.
ridgling is co-owned by Harry Rosenblum and Robert LaPenta.
In other news from Oaklawn Saturday morning:
- Call Pat, winner of the $100,000 Bayakoa Stakes (gr. III) on Feb. 14 at Oaklawn in her last start, worked a half-mile in :49 1/5 Saturday morning at the Arkansas oval in preparation for the Azeri.
- Multiple graded stakes winner Sarah Sis worked a half-mile in :49 4/5 just after the track opened Saturday morning for trainer Ingrid Mason. Sarah Sis is under consideration for the Azeri and the $200,000 Inside Information Stakes (gr. II) March 19 at Gulfstream Park. Mason said Friday morning that she was leaning toward the Inside Information.
- Subtle Indian worked a half-mile in :49 1/5 Saturday morning for trainer Robertino Diodoro in preparation for next Saturday's $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes for older sprinters.