Whitmore (Pleasantly Perfect) shoots for his second win in Friday's GII Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix S. at Keeneland, a 'Win and You're In' for the GI Breeders' Cup Sprint.
After narrowly annexing this event in 2017, the hard-knocking and popular as ever 7-year-old gelding has since completed the bottom half of the exacta in the last two renewals.
Whitmore captured his third GIII Count Fleet Sprint H. at Oaklawn in April, then was second to the ultra-talented Volatile (Violence) in the GI Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. at Saratoga July 25. He was seventh in a very sloppy renewal of the GI Forego S. at the Spa last time Aug. 29.
The speedy No Parole bested Echo Town in front-running fashion by 3 3/4 lengths in Belmont's GI Woody Stephens S. June 20. Echo Town turned the tables on the Louisiana-bred, however, with a breakthrough win in Saratoga's GI H. Allen Jerkens S. Aug. 1. No Parole faded to ninth that day, his most recent trip to the post.
Echo Town cuts back in distance following a flat fifth as the 2-1 favorite in the GII Pat Day Mile S. at Churchill Downs Sept. 5.
Lexitonian (Speightstown), third at 46-1 in last year's Phoenix, came within a nose of a Grade I victory in the Bing Crosby S. at Del Mar Aug. 1, then was a close fifth in the Forego.
Diamond Oops (Lookin At Lucky), winner of the 2019 GIII Smile Sprint S. and GIII Mr. Prospector S., goes turf to dirt following a last-to-first neck decision in the GII Twin Spires Turf Sprint S. at Churchill Sept. 4.