Gamine Easily Tops Female Sprinters, Whitmore Rides BC Win to Eclipse

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Gamine | Horsephotos

'TDN Rising Star' Gamine (Into Mischief) proved the fleetest of the fleet among female sprinters in 2020, becoming the second consecutive of her all-conquering sire's daughters to take home the hardware in the Female Sprinter division (Covfefe, 2019). The $1.8-million sales-topper at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale easily outdistanced the hard-knocking, dual-division finalist Serengeti Empress (Alternation) and GI Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint victress Glass Slippers (GB) (Dream Ahead). Gamine was second to Swiss Skydiver for the 3-year-old filly Eclipse.

A successful pinhook, having brought $220,000 as a Keeneland September yearling in 2018, Gamine joined stablemates Nadal (Blame) and Charlatan (Speightstown) as early-season 'Rising Stars' with a first-out romp Mar. 7, then crossed the line first in a two-turn Oaklawn allowance only to later be disqualified for a drug positive. She decimated her rivals in her next two starts, both around one turn, scoring by a Rachel Alexandra-like 18 3/4 lengths in the GI Longines Acorn S. going a mile at Belmont June 20 and again in the seven-furlong GI Longines Test S. at Saratoga Aug. 8, following in Covfefe's hoofprints.

Gamine failed to see out the nine-furlong trip in the postponed GI Longines Kentucky Oaks, finishing third to Eclipse finalist Shedaresthedevil (Daredevil) and champion Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil), but was back to her brilliant best in the F/M Sprint, sitting off the pace for the first time in her career before shooting past Serengeti Empress to take it by a record-setting margin of 6 1/4 lengths.

The hard-knocking Whitmore (Pleasantly Perfect) is a balm for the souls of all race fans who long for the good old days of fan-favorite war horses. The cantankerous gelding recorded the biggest victory of his career with a resounding late-running score in the GI Breeders' Cup Sprint. It was the then 7-year-old's fourth effort in the Breeders' Cup.

Whitmore's early 2020 campaign followed a familiar pattern, as the chestnut won a third renewal of the Hot Springs S. while making his fourth start in the six-furlong event at the Oaklawn Park winter base of trainer Ron Moquett. The following month, he earned his third win in the GIII Count Fleet H.

Whitmore was second behind fellow Eclipse sprint finalist Volatile (Violence) in the GI Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. in July and, after off-the-board finishes in the GI Forego S. and GII Phoenix S., the Breeders' Cup crowd dismissed the gritty gelding at 18-1 on championship weekend.

Well back behind a fast pace, Whitmore enjoyed a rail-skimming ride which put him in striking distance at the top of the lane. He tipped out for running room in upper stretch and the expectation of what was to come was palpable as track announcer Kurt Becker proclaimed, “Here's Whitmore. Here's Whitmore. Here's Whitmore,” with increasing urgency.

Here indeed was Whitmore, who strode to the lead with authority and kicked away to win by 3 1/4 lengths.

Neither of his fellow sprint finalists, two-time Grade I winner Vekoma (Candy Ride {Arg}) nor Volatile, raced beyond July and both made just three starts in 2020. Eclipse voters rewarded both Whitmore's flashy Breeders' Cup win and his longevity with a championship statue.

Whitmore is back in Arkansas and readying for another campaign.

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