One last honor awaits Whitmore at the track where he made his reputation as one of the most beloved horses to race in Hot Springs.
Coinciding with today's opening of the stable area for the 2021-22 racing season, Oaklawn will unveil the newly renamed Whitmore Barn in honor of the retired champion. Dignitaries expected include Ron Moquett, his trainer and co-owner, and wife Laura. The ceremony starts at 10 a.m. at the stable gate on Golf Links Road.
Racing until age 8, Whitmore retired with a 15-13-5 record and career earnings of $4,502,350. Versatile enough to enter the 2016 Kentucky Derby, he achieved his greatest success when converted to a sprinter. His two Grade 1 victories included the 2020 Breeders' Cup Sprint, after which he won the Eclipse Award as champion male sprinter.
Whitmore won at Oaklawn in five seasons, taking the Hot Springs Stakes a record four times and the Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap three out of four years. Purchased for about $35,000 as a yearling, Whitmore earned more than $1 million at Oaklawn alone with a 9-6-1 local record, placing third in the 2016 Arkansas Derby.
"I want to win this race until they name it after him," Moquett said after winning the 2020 Hot Springs. Consider it done: The newly renamed Whitmore Stakes will be renewed Saturday, March 19 for a $250,000 purse.
Friday, Dec. 3 is the earliest opening date in track history, the first card including the inaugural running of the $150,000 Advent for 2-year-olds. Oaklawn will run each Friday-Sunday, closing Dec. 22-24 and Easter Sunday, April 17. The meet extends through Sunday, May 8, 2022.
Still on track: Although a disappointing sixth in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, Shedaresthedevil will return to race in her 5-year-old season, co-owner Staton Flurry, of Hot Springs, reports.
Purchased for $280,000 after her 2-year-old campaign, the Daredevil filly brought $5 million at Fasig-Tipton's November Sale Monday in Lexington, Ky. Flurry and original owner Qatar Racing retained shares in a deal brokered by bloodstock agent Mandy Pope.
"You always hope when you're selling that Mandy will be there," Flurry said. "The partnership formed right before she went in the ring."
Shedaresthedevil earned more than $2.2 million the last two years racing for Flurry, Qatar and Louisiana horseman Autry Lowry. Winning the Kentucky Oaks at 3, she added Grade 1 victories at 4 in Churchill Downs' La Troienne and Del Mar's Clement L. Hirsch. Her Oaklawn victories included the 2021 Grade 2 Azeri and the Grade 3 2020 Honeybee.
Shedaresthedevil will return to trainer Brad Cox' stable in 2022, Flurry said, with early-season targets including Oaklawn's Azeri and Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap..
A "suicidal" pace (half-mile in 44.97 seconds, six furlongs in 1:09.70) proved Shedaresthedevil's undoing in the BC Distaff Saturday at Del Mar, Flurry said. "She held on more than any of the front-runners did. They went as fast or faster than in the Sprint."
Marche Lorraine, a 5-year-old Japanese-bred mare, won by a nose over Dunbar Road at 49-1 odds, paying $101.80 to win. Olsin Murphy rode the winner, second on the card for Japanese trainer Yoshito Yahagi. Kentucky Oaks winner Malathaat, the presumptive 3-year-old filly champion, ran third.
Shedaresthedevil, beaten 6 1/2 lengths, finished well ahead of rival Letruska (11th), the 8-5 favorite. Shedaresthedevil handed the past Mexican champion her only previous 2021 defeat in the Azeri.
Shedaresthedevil brought more in the sales ring than champion Swiss Skydiver, a fellow Daredevil filly, whom she defeated in the 2020 Kentucky Oaks. Fetching $4.7 million, Swiss Skydiver reportedly will be shipped to Japan for broodmare duties. Magical World, a Distorted Humor mare, topped the sale at $5.2 million.
Coming back: Edgeway, Oaklawn's Carousel winner in April and runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, will remain in racing as a 5-year-old, trainer John Sadler told Daily Racing Form.
"We'd love to get a Grade 1 with her," Sadler said after the Competitive Edge filly was scratched from a Keeneland sale Wednesday. The long-range goal is a repeat appearance in the Filly & Mare Sprint next year at Keeneland.
A 2020 Oaklawn debut winner for Hronis Racing, Edgeway finished second by 2 1/2 lengths to Ce Ce and immediately ahead of defending champion and odds-on favorite Gamine on Saturday at Del Mar. The Sadler filly scored a Grade 3 win in Del Mar's Rancho Bernardo Handicap in August.