Laura Moquett is an assistant trainer for Moquett Racing. She trains her horses on the side and utilizes coaching as much as possible. Her RRP horse, “Whitmore,” won the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Sprint and was named the 2020 American Champion Sprinter at age seven.
Whitmore’s other major wins included the 2017 Phoenix Stakes and 2018 Forego Stakes. He was also known for his winning record at Oaklawn Park, in Hot Springs, Ark. He won the Hot Springs Stakes four times in a row and the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap three times. His career earnings were over $4.5 million.
Tell us about your OTTB: Whitmore is a 9-year-old gelding that last raced at Saratoga. He ran 43 races finishing 15-13-5. Whitmore and I met in our racing barn when he was shipped in as a 2-year-old. I decided to train him for the TB Makeover in Competitive Trail since he was a very curious horse. I wanted to give his body another year to recover before doing the strenuous activities that the other disciplines require.
Did your horse have any racing injuries? If so, tell us a little about that injury and the rehab process: Yes, he had a small fracture off the top of his medial sesamoid at the suspensory attachment. He had surgery at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital with Dr. Bramlege and recovered at Rebecca Makers farm in Lexington, KY. He shipped down to the Oaklawn training center in Benton, AR in December to start his retraining. Time constraints made it difficult for me to start him properly until we got back to Kentucky in May. Retraining was very low key physically and focused mainly on quiet trail riding and obstacle training.
Why did you decide to enter TB Makeover? I really wanted Whitmore’s fans to be able to read the next chapter in his story. Hopefully it piques someone’s interest in OTTB’s and makes them connect with the RRP and start an OTTB of their own. It is a great way to get a quality athlete that can compete in whichever discipline you choose.
In your opinion what makes the Thoroughbred special? Thoroughbreds are created to be athletes. This gives them so many options as sport horses. Also, their will to please is unparalleled.
What has been the biggest challenge throughout the retraining process? My biggest challenge has been to find enough time to cram years’ worth of training into a few months! That’s what makes the challenge so fun!
Who has helped you the most during this retraining process? My racetrack family has helped me the most during this process. They’ve made it possible to have the time it took to work with Whit as much as possible! I could not have gotten him to this level without their support!
What are your hopes for this horse? That Whit will be a relaxed and willing partner for the future. I’m not sure what discipline or level that will entail, but I feel like Competitive Trail was a great place to start!
Advice you would give to anyone looking to purchase an OTTB? Study your sport and know what you’re looking for. Understand that retraining takes an investment in time and money. Having coaches set-up to help with that is key. At the end of the day, you’ll have a partner for life!
What keeps you motivated throughout the training process? I’m always searching for the moment when my horse understands what I’m asking of him. (Best feeling ever!) Their response to my questions is what makes me keep working.