03/11/2011 5:25PM

Oaklawn's quickest sprinter of the meet returns


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Uncle Brent, a 3-year-old who ran the fastest six furlongs of the Oaklawn Park meet when he won his debut in February, will make his first start at two turns Sunday in the 10th race. The entry-level allowance at a mile is one of two high-end offerings on the card. Sebastian County heads the ninth, a $50,000 optional claiming race at the same distance. The field also includes Cryptolight, an earner of more than $500,000.

Uncle Brent made his first career start on Feb. 26, and zipped six furlongs in 1:09.40 to earn a Beyer Figure of 89. He debuted for Westwind Farms and Brent Taylor, the assistant to his original trainer, Eric Reed. In the week following the race he was sold privately to Oaklawn president Charles Cella and transferred to trainer Lynn Whiting.

“His race was most impressive for a 3-year-old first-time starter,” Whiting said of Uncle Brent’s 1 3/4-length win over Jerry n’ Elvis. “He ran the last quarter in 23 and 4. He stamped himself as a horse of a lot of quality, and the second horse, I think was pretty well thought of, too.”

Whiting breezed Uncle Brent a half-mile on Tuesday in a bullet 47.80 seconds. The move was the fastest of 30 works at the distance, and the latest strong drill from the son of the Mr. Prospector stallion Pioneering. The horse will have to overcome post 9 on Sunday, but Whiting likes the idea of added ground for Uncle Brent.

“I look at him as a two-turn horse,” he said. “I don’t look at him as a sprinter. He galloped out very strong the other day. As a matter of fact, he was a little bit green. He didn’t change his leads in the stretch, and when he did change leads late, he galloped out 10 in front of the field. A most impressive effort for a first-time starter.”

Israel Ocampo, who rode Uncle Brent in his debut, retains the mount on Sunday.

Sebastian County will be making his third start of the year in the ninth race. He moved to a mile for his last start and was second in an allowance won by It Happened Again, who was entered in Saturday’s Grade 3, $125,000 Razorback at Oaklawn.

Perry Compton has the mount on Sebastian County, who races for Dream Walkin Farm and is trained by Don Von Hemel.