LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Ron Moquett is a Churchill-based trainer who had his first Derby starter last year with Far Right, who finished 15th. Now he's back with Whitmore, a horse with a totally different personality.
Whitmore was third in the Arkansas Derby the last time out. He galloped Wednesday under Laura Moquett, Ron's wife. She says he can be a handful in the mornings.
"He's a big bully," and he's really sensitive all at the same time. So if he gets mad, it's on. And I wait to decide that it's his idea, and then we get along really well.
Whitmore got his maiden win at Churchill Downs last November. Come Derby, Victor Espinoza will be his jockey. Espinoza is a 3-time Derby winner, including the last two.
An Arkansas native who also races out of Oaklawn, Moquett has been training on his own for 20 years. He's happy to have a horse like Whitmore this year.
"When you've got someone who has had that much success in a race, it sure takes the pressure off, so we're happy to have him," said Moquett. "I think it's fate, it just sort of worked like that."
Moquett is not one to back away from a fight. He grew up fighting -- boxing. And he's got a real fighter on his hands in Whitmore.
Moquett says he thinks there are 10 contenders to win this year's Derby, "and we're in there."
Whitmore will work again on Friday or Saturday.
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