The East Coast has some quality racing besides the X-Country Pick Four and it can be found at Aqueduct in the form of the Grade 3 Withers Stakes. El Kabeir and Classy Class are in the field and will be the short money horses in this prep race. The Road to the Derby is heating up!
Race: Withers Stakes (G3)
Distance: Mile and a sixteenth
Age: 3 Year Olds
Date: Saturday, February 7th 2015
Post Time: 4:13 PM ET
TV Coverage: Can be found on TVG (online) and HRTV
|1||2-1||Classy Class||Ortiz Jr||Returns for his third start after a layoff. Before the layoff he showed himself reasonably well in the Remsen where the rail bias was in full affect. But o the other side, Frosted who was second in the Remsen fired a dud since. Irad Ortiz is lighting it up in NY and he is piloting. Still talented but not sure I am in love at 2-1.|
|2||5-1||Far From Over||Franco||Blame's son won an impressive MSW in his only career start over the Aqueduct track but then has been working in Florida in preparation for the Withers. Stepping into stakes competition for the first time but two-turns is of no concern. Live.|
|3||6-1||March||Ortiz||Broke his maiden on the Aqueduct inner track last out. It was a neck victory and this is a class step for him that I do not believe he is ready to take. The Chad Brown trainee has talent but this might be too soon.|
|4||12-1||Tencendur||Velasquez||3rd to Far From Over in debut but came back and broke his maiden last out. That was a muddy track and this is stakes competition. Asking a lot for the young buck.|
|5||20-1||Unrivaled||Penington||Here is a unique one to look at here. This race could set up in many ways and he is a dead closer. He will be coming late like he did at Parx. 20-1 because this is stakes and not MSW but if they torch the front end he could get a gift at a price.|
|6||15-1||General Bellamy||Alvarado||On the plus side, he won two back by 3 1/2 at a mile off-the-turf. Downside, entered Jerome and was throttled by El Kabeir by 12 1/2. Now if the pace is torrid this one could be coming also. But making up 12 could be too much for him.|
|7||8-5||El Kabeir||Lopez||Has improved in stakes company with a 4th in the Champagne, then 2nd in the Nashua and back-to-back wins at the Kentucky Jockey Club and Jerome. Won in front running style until asked to rate in the Jerome. Multifaceted horse that will prove trouble for this field.|
Withers Stakes Breakdown and Betting
Welcome to Withers Stakes and good ole New York racing. It is warm and sunny out west but here let’s grind it out. The top two choices in the morning line are Classy Class and El Kabeir. For me I do not get the morning line. Yes I know the bias the last time Classy Class raced in the Remsen but he was backing up and his pedigree seems to suggest this distance is about the top end. A bad horse? No, but I am not in love at 2-1 or better.
Meanwhile El Kabeir seems to just keep improving. I eluded to it early in the comments section but this is a horse that should love 8 1/2 furlongs and already has proven an affinity for the track. He even added a new toy to his bag of tricks in the Jerome where he rated. To me that is HUGE for the Withers. Classy Class will be firing and you can expect a combination of March and Far From Over to be gunning as well. There are a couple of deep closers here in General Bellamy and Unrivaled. While none are stakes proven, they are still troublesome. El Kabeir can sit right behind the pace and way in front of the closers. This should be prime real estate for a Withers win.
If El Kabeir decides to go nuts with the other three horses I mentioned than I like the look of Unrivaled at a price. It is true that he had to go to Parx to break the maiden but I prefer him to General Bellamy. You WILL get a price here and is probably worth a flier if you believe that the pace will be hot and if you are not in love with the top-2.
Below are my best values for a $12, or $25 bet in the Withers Stakes. As always if you are struggling to raise a couple of dollars to make a bet, please don’t. Pay a bill, which is more important. Remember, this is supposed to be fun. On to my win picks and betting strategies for the 2015 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct.
|$1 Exacta Box||2 with 5 with 7|
|$1 Trifecta Box||2 with 5 with 7|
|$1 Exacta Box||2 with 5 with 7|
|$ 1 Trifecta||5,7 with 2,5,6,7|
|$3 Win/ Place||5|