Bobby Zen

HOT SPRINGS, Arkansas–He got the call. They needed him and he was all too ready to oblige once again. Just like any serious athlete, you never really get comfortable with that dreaded word–retired. The chance to strut your stuff in front of the home crowd is just too enticing and probably most of all it is the opportunity to relive the good ole days.

For Whitmore (Pleasantly Perfect), who won three editions of the GIII Count Fleet Sprint H., a GI Breeders’ Cup Sprint–which earned him Eclipse honors–and took home over $4.5 million in earnings, leading the parade in the Grade III race named for him Mar. 16 was another accolade over his impressive career.

“He enjoyed himself, for sure” said Laura Moquett, who co-owns the horse with trainer Ron Moquett. “You could tell days later that he hadn’t come down from the high of being back at Oaklawn in a setting like that.”

Laura Moquett rode the champ that day at Oaklawn Park as the throng buzzed as he went by. The track’s administration reached out to the pair in the hopes that Whitmore would make an appearance and the Moquetts made it happen.

“It’s just a ton of fun to see how people react to him and it was great to see how it perked him up when everyone was cheering for him,” she said.

While the Moquetts run their stable at Oaklawn during the meet, Whitmore is housed at a training facility owned by Joyce Metzer called Seamist Farm which is near Salem, Arkansas.

Laura Moquett makes the 35-minute drive most days, but she’s not just popping in for a meet and greet. She continues to work with the 11-year-old, and build on what the two accomplished during the Retired Racehorse Project’s competitive trail event which took place at the Kentucky Horse Park in 2022.

Whitmore leads the parade at Oaklawn | Coady Photography

“It was a challenge and there were so many aspects to it that were really tough, but I was proud of him for taking it on,” Moquett said.

After saddling, Whitmore steps lightly and makes his way to the show ring that is set up on the property. You can tell that he relishes a jaunt and his affinity for Laura Moquett is evident.

“Whitmore and I have a great business relationship that is built on respect, but with Laura he will just do things that no one can get him to do,” said Ron Moquett. “It’s truly amazing.”

The Eclipse winner canters around the ring, as Laura Moquett gets him loosened up. The pair make a great team and with a course set, she takes the former racehorse through his paces.

“He will take some chances and he trusts me,” said Moquett. “That day at Oaklawn is still with him and you can tell out here that he is feeling good, wanting to do more.”

Whitmore completes several panel jumps and seeing the spring in his step in-person, you can tell he still possesses that singular drive and dogged determination.

“He’s still a racehorse inside and you can never take that out of him,” said Laura Moquett. “When I’m riding him it’s fun to tap into his competitive spirit and that is what drives him.”

Once the Oaklawn meet is complete in early May, the Moquetts will take Whitmore with them to Kentucky. The champion who became known for his cantankerous moods and antics behind the gate during loading is enjoying his time in the ring.

“I have no doubt that if he knew he was going to get to race he would be ready,” said Ron Moquett. “You could tell that day at Oaklawn he was ready in case they needed him.”

Whitmore is an athlete, albeit a retired one. Do not waste your time trying to assert the latter half of that statement. In his own mind, he is still a racehorse, but it sure was fun to see him jump.

The post Champion Whitmore Jumps At Any Chance, Especially At Oaklawn appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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