Whittington Park gets up in time to win Haynesfield

Saturday, February 24th, 2024

Whittington Park (left) gets past Anejo in the final stages of the Haynesfield. Chelsea Durand/NYRA Photo

By Melissa Bauer-Herzog

Whittington Park became a stakes winner in the $100,000 Haynesfield Stakes for New York-breds at Aqueduct Saturday, but it wasn’t easy.

The Midnight Lute 5-year-old broke a step slow from the inside post of a six-horse field and was last after a few strides. He refused to stay there for long, working his way outside and into a settled spot in fourth down the backstretch as the front runners caught up after Mama’s Gold went the first quarter-mile in :23.72 and opened 2 ½ lengths on the field. The pacesetter refused to bow to the early pressure when keeping a half-length on the field through a half-mile pole in :47.80.

By the turn, Mama’s Gold finally gave in as Anejo flew past to quickly open 5 ½ lengths on the field at the top of the stretch. Anejo looked like an easy winner near the wire, but Whittington Park didn’t give up and closed with every stride.

Racing down the center of the track on the leader’s outside for jockey Kendrick Carmouche, Whittington Park got to Anejo just in time to win by a half-length in 1:39.88 for the mile. Dr. Ardito finished third, 11 ¼ lengths behind.

“He just seems like he has a lot more desire and knows what he wants to do,” trainer Jeremiah Englehart said. “You give him a target now and he wants to run the horse down. Last year, a couple races, Kendrick would say he would just wait and make spotty moves. Now, he’s putting himself in the position rather than having to have Kendrick urge him somewhere. A lot of those Midnight Lutes seem to get better as they get older.”

Bred by Marshall Gramm and Clay Sanders, and racing for Gramm’s Ten Strike Racing, Whittington Park improved to 2-for-2 this year with six wins overall and six other top three finishes for $335,810 in 17 starts.

Whittington Park is the third stakes winner for six-time winner See The Forest, also the dam of New York-bred stakes winners Looms Boldly and Critical Value among her seven winners from seven to race. See The Forest is out of dual Grade 1 winner Critical Eye, who saw another daughter produce stakes winner Little Kansas and Grade 3-placed Headline Report.

After a few years without foals reported after Looms Boldly was foaled in 2020, See The Forest produced a New York-bred Constitution colt for Ten Strike Racing last year. The mare visited Irish Hill and Dutchess Views Stallions’ Warrior’s Charge’s last year in his first season at stud.

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