Trained by Ron Moquett for owners Robert LaPenta, Southern Springs Stables and Head of Plains Partners, Whitmore broke through at the Grade 1 level in August at Saratoga Race Course with a rallying effort in the seven-furlong Forego.
2019 True North Stakes Odds & Entries
Race 8 at Belmont Park on Friday, June 07 - Post 4:42 PM
|1||Bon Raison||30-1||Javier Castellano
|2||Stan the Man||10-1||Dylan Davis
|John Terranova II|
|3||Catalina Cruiser||5-2||Joel Rosario
|5||Strike Power||8-1||John Velazquez
|6||Recruiting Ready||6-1||Luis Saez
|7||Whitmore||7-2||Ricardo Santana, Jr.
|8||Do Share||5-1||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
|9||Gold for the King||15-1||Manuel Franco
|10||Mr. Dougie Fresh||15-1||Jose Lezcano
With a record of 12-8-5 from 27 career starts and purse earnings in excess of $2.5 million, the 6-year-old Whitmore has proven to be an ultra-consistent performer as a sprinter after a sophomore campaign spent on the Kentucky Derby trail.
Last year, Whitmore won the Hot Springs and Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park en route to completing his season with a strong second to Roy H in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.
The Pleasantly Perfect chestnut arrives at the True North from a difficult fifth in the Grade 1 Churchill Downs Sprint.
"It was an odd race," said Moquett of the last-out fifth. "We did a lot of moving around the turn instead of down the stretch. I was a little shook up about it, but at the same time he's come back safe and sound and healthy and we'll move forward."
Ricardo Santana Jr., aboard for last year's Forego score, takes over from Javier Castellano. He'll pilot Whitmore from Post 7.
"I'm really happy with him and I think he'll run well," said Moquett.
The lightly-raced Catalina Cruiser has won four of five career starts, including Grade 2 wins at Del Mar last year in the San Diego and Pat O'Brien. The 5-year-old Union Rags chestnut veered out at the break in the season-closing Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile in November finishing sixth, and will make his return to the races off a series of sharp works at Santa Anita, including a four-furlong effort in 47.60 seconds on Saturday morning.
Owned by Hronis Racing, Catalina Cruiser is out of the Mineshaft broodmare Sea Gull and is a half-brother to graded stakes winner Eagle.
Joel Rosario picks up the mount and will guide Catalina Cruiser from Post 3.
Sagamore Farm's Recruiting Ready has won two of five races since Stanley Hough took over training the 5-year-old son of Algorithms, including a 3 ¼-length score in the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint. In his most recent outing, the speedy bay finished second behind Firenze Fire in the Runhappy Stakes on May 11 at Belmont, despite grabbing a quarter after stumbling at the start.
Luis Saez has the call from Post 6.
Courtlandt Farms homebred Strike Power, a 4-year-old Speightstown chestnut, won the Grade 3 Swale and finished second in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth while competing on the Derby trail last winter at Gulfstream Park.
Trained by Mark Hennig, Strike Power returned to sprinting in the summer finishing a pace-setting fourth in the Grade 3 Amsterdam at Saratoga. Following an off-season throat surgery to correct a breathing issue, Strike Power made his seasonal debut in style with a romping five-length score in a 6 ½-furlong sprint on the Gulfstream main.
Strike Power will be piloted by Hall of Famer John Velazquez from Post 5.
The upwardly-mobile Nicodemus, trained by Linda Rice for owners Everything's Cricket Racing and Lawrence Goichman, earned a career-best 101 Beyer Speed Figure last out in the one-mile Grade 3 Westchester in which he defeated True North rival Stan the Man.
A 4-year-old son of Candy Ride, Nicodemus has three wins and two seconds from seven career starts. He won sprinting in the slop at Aqueduct in March before stretching out to nine furlongs for the Grade 3 Excelsior where he finished fourth.
Jose Ortiz takes over from Mike Luzzi in Post 4.
Completing the field are Bon Raison (Javier Castellano, Post 1), Stan the Man (Dylan Davis, Post 2), Do Share (Irad Ortiz Jr., Post 8), Gold for the King (Manny Franco, Post 9), and Mr. Dougie Fresh (Jose Lezcano, Post 10.)
The True North is slated as Race 8 on Friday's 11-race card. First post is 12:50 p.m.
Hough enjoying fruitful second act, may have Recruiting Ready for G2 True North
After stepping away from training in 2012, Stanley Hough re-emerged in late 2018 better than ever. Since rejoining the training ranks, the veteran horseman has won 15 of 62 races, including a pair of graded victories, and may make an appearance during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival with Recruiting Ready, who is possible for the Grade 2, $250,000 True North on June 7.
Recruiting Ready, owned by Sagamore Farm, the stable of Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank, has won two of five races since Hough took over training the 5-year-old son of Algorithms, including a 3 ¼-length score in the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint. In his most recent outing, the speedy bay finished second behind Firenze Fire in the Runhappy Stakes on May 11 at Belmont.
"We're not entirely sure about the True North with Recruiting Ready," said Hough. "He stumbled at the start of his last race and grabbed a quarter. He's responded well since and worked well a couple days ago, so we'll see how he does and make a decision. We've looked into arrangements to ship in, but we're not 100 percent yet."
The other big horse in Hough's care, Global Campaign, winner of the Grade 3 Peter Pan at Belmont last out, will not be making an appearance during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, but some big NYRA races are likely on the horizon for him, according to the trainer.
"He also has a foot issue, a quarter crack," said Hough. "He was stepped on behind in the Peter Pan and we've been doing a couple little things with him. The main thing is we've fit him with a special shoe and he's been able to train; we're hoping to get a work in in the next couple days. The dream would be to make the Jim Dandy and Travers, and we're considering the Dwyer and Ohio Derby before that."
Global Campaign stamped himself as a serious racehorse with an effortless 5 ¾-length maiden win on January 5 at Gulfstream Park in his debut, but after taking a step back in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream, the son of Curlin solidified his standing as a top 3-year-old with a 1 ¼-length triumph in the Peter Pan, for which he earned a career best 101 Beyer Speed Figure.
"It was great," Hough said of the race. "He's a very talented horse. You always hope for a race like that and that's what we were expecting. He was a little disappointing in the Fountain of Youth, but he's a very, very good horse and we had the utmost confidence in him."
The common thread between Hough's two stable stars is Sagamore Farm, who he cites as the impetus for getting back into training nearly 50 years after he saddled his first winner. Over $45 million in earnings later, Hough is still going strong, having already amassed $636,219 in earnings this year.
"We've been very lucky; it's been a good year," said the trainer. "We've won the last couple starts at Churchill and had a few who broke their maidens over the weekend, which was satisfying. It's great when you're winning, but not so much when you hit a slow streak. The reason I came back was because of Sagamore. It's very rewarding to be around the people I work with and I wouldn't have done it if it wasn't for them."