• La Coronel (5-1) leads them all the way in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.Posted 4 days ago
  • Rubilinda (6-5) finds the wire just in time to take the Pebbles Stakes.Posted 4 days ago
  • Engage (1-2) rolls home from last to win the Grade 3 Futurity Stakes.Posted 4 days ago
  • Bolt d'Oro is the 12-1 favorite in the current Las Vegas line for Kentucky Derby 2018.Posted 7 days ago
  • Romantic Vision (6-1) takes the sloppy Spinster (G1) at Keeneland.Posted 10 days ago
  • Unique Bella (1-5) returns with a clear victory in the L. A. Woman (G3) at Santa Anita.Posted 10 days ago
  • Flameaway (5-1) wins a three-horse photo finish in the Dixiana Bourbon (G3) at a wet Keeneland.Posted 10 days ago
  • War Flag (9-1) wins the stretch battle in Belmont's Flower Bowl (G1).Posted 10 days ago
  • Separationofpowers (9-5) impresses in the Frizette at Belmont Park.Posted 10 days ago
  • Roy H (4-5) lives up to favoritism in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship.Posted 11 days ago
Breeders' Cup 2017

Stop Two on the New York Derby Trail – the G3 Withers

Saturday’s Grade three Withers Stakes marks the second stop on the 2012 New York Derby Trail.  This year in New York there is $250,000 more of the Derby qualifying graded money available and the sequence of the races has been changed.
Alpha won the first stop, which was the Jan 7th Count Fleet, by two and a half lengths while earning an 85 Beyer Speed Figure.  The Godolphin colt will continue to prep for the Derby in New York and assistant trainer Art Magnuson explained why, “The thought is [to run in] all of them.  We could skip one if we want, but the thought is to just do all four. The Kentucky Derby is very important, but this series is very important. These aren’t preps, these are important races, so we’re treating them that way. We take the Withers very seriously, and the Gotham. We’ve won a stake and that’s nice, and this is graded, that’s important, everything’s very important. Alpha needs to show up, needs to run, but we couldn’t be happier with him now.”
{Check out the top 2012 Kentucky Derby contenders}
Alpha broke his maiden closing weekend at Saratoga with a six length victory. He next ran second to Union Rags in the Grade One Champagne.  The Bernardini colt’s 2011 season ended with a disappointing performance in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Kiaran McLaughlin supervised Alpha’s two month break at Palm Meadows in Florida and then shipped him to New York.
The Withers Stakes is named for David Dunham Withers, who was a businessman who made a fortune in the South prior to the Civil War.  He moved to the North where he owned and bred thoroughbreds from his 800 acre Brookdale Farm in Lincroft, NJ.  He was one of the founders of Jerome Park, an original member of the Jockey Club, and an owner of Monmouth Park.  The Withers was first run at old Jerome Park in 1874.  He actually won his namesake race in 1890, with his horse, King Eric.
Likely to be the favorite in the Withers, Alpha will probably be joined by six to eight other three year-olds looking to get their piece of the $200,000 graded purse.  The race closed with 42 nominations.
Hakama has hit the board in all four of his starts.  Michael Tombetta trains this son of First Samarai out the Fair Hill Center in Maryland.  He broke his maiden on the inner track at Aqueduct on Dec. 11, 2011, going a mile and 70 yards.   From there he won a Jan. 4th NW1 allowance race at Laurel again covering a distance of ground.
How Do I Win comes from the Repole Stable and is trained by the red hot Todd Pletcher.  After the dazzling performances of El Padrino in a Gulfstream allowance where he a earned a 100 Beyer speed figure and Algorithms stunning defeat of the two year-old champion Hansen with a 98 BSF, all Pletcher horses should be considered dangerous.  On Sunday How Do I Win breezed 4F in :49.04.  If he runs in the Withers we will find him running on the lead, as Pletcher explained, “In his last race, the jockey (Cornelio Velasquez) took too much hold of him, and he’s more of a free-running horse.”
King Kid is a Dale Romans trainee that has run just twice.  This son of Lemon Drop Kid broke his maiden at Churchill on November 26th and finished third in the Gulfstream Park Derby on January 1st.
Jerry Hollendorfer is considering shipping Longview Drive in from California. The Pulpit colt has run in four stakes races with two wins and two third place finishes.  Most recently in the Sham (G3) he ran third one length behind of the winner Out of Bounds and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint victor Secret Circle.
Robert Reid trains the Pennsylvania-bred Phil Dancer. This colt has won his last two 6F starts at Parx:  a state-bred maiden race on December 5th and a NW1 allowance on January 1st.
Gary Contessa trains Speightscity who has already run six times.  This colt ran in the Breeders” Cup Juvenile, the Remsen, and the Count Fleet.  Last out in the Count Fleet he was bumped at the start and then raced wide.  On December 15th, he won a NW1 allowance on the Aqueduct inner track going a mile and 70.
Swag Daddy is trained of Richard Dutrow, Jr. and has been running exclusively against New York-breds.  His last two races have been in stakes races on the inner track and have produced two victories.  Both of those races were in December at a mile and 70 with one win coming from off the pace and the other on the lead. 
Tiger Walk comes from the legendary Sagamore Farm, which is now owned by the Under Armour boss Kevin Plank.  This Tale of the Cat colt ran his first three races on the turf with one win and then he took an optional claiming allowance on the main track at Laurel. 


comments powered by Disqus

Older Comments about Stop Two on the New York Derby Trail – the G3 Withers...

Lookin' good!
ALPHA wins the Withers handily.
UPDATE: Here is the field for the WIthers--1) Hakama 2) Speightscity 3) Swag Daddy 4) King Kid 5) How Do I Win 6) Tiger Walk 7) Alpha
Not to mention that the colt has an impressive pedigree. He has "distance" stamped all over him.
Alpha is a real nice horse so far... Owner of Swag Daddy has been to the derby twice in last four years and the Preakfast twice with three different horses.. Trainer is on fire and horse has won three times already..Potent owner/ trainer combo...dont dismiss.....
Hansen gets another chance and Alpha still needs to make improvements in the battle for Ramon.
I think Ramon's decision will hinge in large part on how Hansen performs in his next race. Tough choice either way.
I think Alpha will be able to handle this group, since there's not too many new shooters, but if he delivers a dynamite performance will Ramon move his first preference to Alpha & away from Hansen?
UPDATE: Alpha breezed 5F in 1:01.02 at Belmont and Tiger Walk went 4F in :48.4 at Laurel in preparation for the Withers.
The Withers in February? Who would have thunk it!
I took another look at the Count Fleet. From what I could tell, it did not appear that How Do I Win was fighting C. Velasquez too much, and he was up near the lead. What I did notice, however, is that How Do I Win did drift out a bit in the stretch drive and actually caused Stephanoatsee to have to slightly check and shift out also. Unfortunately, now that Stephanoatsee is off the Derby trail, none of will get to find out what exactly he is capable of at this time.

Related Pages

Related Stories

Top Stories