Tejano Twist Goes for Stakes #6 in Whitmore

March 16, 2024

Tejano Twist denying Bango his destiny in the Bet On Sunshine. (Kurtis Coady)

Compiled by Robert Yates

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.—Millionaire Tejano Twist bids for his sixth career stakes victory in the $250,000 G3-Whitmore for older horses Saturday at Oaklawn.

The Whitmore and $200,000 Purple Martin Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs highlight an 11-race card that begins at noon (Central). Probable post time for the Purple Martin, the seventh race, is 3:10 p.m. Probable post time for the Whitmore, race 9, is 4:23 p.m.

The Whitmore is the final major local prep for the $500,000 G3-Count Fleet Sprint Handicap April 13. Both races are 6 furlongs.

A confirmed stretch-runner, Tejano Twist won the 2023 Whitmore before finishing third behind Skelly in the Count Fleet. Tejano Twist completed his 2023 campaign with a powerful five-length victory in the $150,000 Ring the Bell Stakes Dec. 9. He opened 2024 with a runner-up finish behind Skelly in the $150,000 King Cotton Stakes. With Skelly awaiting the Count Fleet, Tejano Twist is the 9-5 program favorite for trainer Chris Hartman and jockey Chris Landeros.

“Hopefully, we can repeat the thing,” Hartman said. “The horse is doing good. There’s no Skelly, so that’s got to help. I think there’s enough (pace). He makes his own pace. It’s just late.”

The early 2-1 second choice is Ryvit for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, who also conditions Skelly. Ryvit, facing older horses for the first time, finished fifth in the Ring the Bell before rebounding with a two-length allowance victory Feb. 23 at Oaklawn under regular rider Keith Asmussen, the trainer’s son.

Keith Asmussen also guided Ryvit to a front-running two-length victory in the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters last April at Oaklawn.

Ryvit and the younger Asmssen taking the Bachelor Stakes. (Coady Photography)
Ryvit and the younger Asmssen taking the Bachelor Stakes. (Coady Photography)

“Very serious jump going from straight 3-year-olds to older, but obviously think the world of the horse,” Asmussen said. “Love being around him and couldn’t be more pleased with how he’s training.”

Steve Asmussen is also scheduled to send out multiple stakes winner Jaxon Traveler in the seven-horse Whitmore field. Fair Grounds shipper Surveillance finished fourth in the 2023 Count Fleet for trainer Keith Desormeaux.

The Purple Martin brings back Xtreme DivaBlue Squall and Xtreme Smoke Show, 1-2-4, respectively, in the $150,000 Dixie Belle Stakes for 3-year-old filly sprinters Feb. 17 at Oaklawn. 

Blue Squall, in her stakes debut, was beaten a nose for trainer Randy Morse, who is also scheduled to start Asternia in the projected six-horse Purple Martin field.

“(Blue Squall’s) doing well and the other filly’s doing really well,” Morse said. “I hate running both of them in the same race, but it’s a short field.”

Xtreme Diva is the 2-1 program favorite for trainer Mac Robertson.

Louis & @ItsMeGinoB talk next w/@jonathanstettin about today’s races & the amazing Ruffian piece he wrote this week. twitter.com/PastTheWire/st…

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