Ky. Derby prep: Withers 2023 odds and analysis

Ky. Derby prep: Withers 2023 odds and analysis
Photo: Candice Chavez/Eclipse Sportswire

Because of extreme winter conditions, the Grade 3, $250,000 Withers was postponed a week to this Saturday. The six horses who drew into the original field are joined by one new entrant from the barn of Bill Mott. The 20-8-6-4-2 points are still available to the top five eligible finishers as the New York road to the 2023 Kentucky Derby continues at Aqueduct.

Here is a full-field analysis for the Withers, which was redrawn and now is scheduled as race 9 of 10. Each horse is shown with odds from the Horse Racing Nation staff, his sire, trainer, jockey, record and purse earnings.

1. Arctic Arrogance (8-5, Frosted, Linda Rice, Jose Lezcano, 5: 2-3-0, $263,400). A pair of second-place finishes at Aqueduct in the Remsen (G2) and the Jerome earned Artic Arrogance eight Derby points, which is currently 13th on the leaderboard. In all five of his races, he has been part of the pace and run well at four distances on wet and dry tracks. The grey son of Frosted broke his maiden at first asking against New York-breds and also was a stakes winner versus state-breds before moving onto the Derby trail. Blinkers go on. Win contender.

2. Prove Right (15-1, Justify, James Chapman, Jose Gomez, 11: 2-1-2 - $149,970) Prove Right debuted in June at Churchill Downs and has more starts than any of his rivals here. The $15,000 yearling purchase has proved to be a bargain, with earnings of almost 10 times that price. He broke his maiden in his second try in Kentucky and then tried the Sanford (G2) at Saratoga, finishing eighth. Prove Right then ran in four allowance races and four other stakes. He was third in the Nashua (G3) at Aqueduct in November and won an allowance at Laurel Park in December. Most recently he was fifth in the Turfway Prevue Stakes. You have to respect this durable son of Justify, but recognize that the Withers will be another tough spot for him. Use underneath.

3. Jungfrau (6-1, Arrogate, Bill Mott, Dylan Davis, 3: 1-0-0, $53,400) Jungfrau lost a head bob in a Dec. 31 race at Gulfstream Park but was elevated to first after Expect More came out in the stretch and was disqualified. Subsequently, Expect More came back to run third as a 1-2 favorite. As a son of Arrogate and a Tapit mare, Jungfrau should continue to improve with more racing. The Mott barn has been winning big races, including the Pegasus World Cup (G1) and the Holy Bull (G3). This should be another Mott runner who will provide value at the betting windows. Use underneath.

4. Hit Show (2-1, Candy Ride, Brad Cox, Manny Franco, 3: 2-0-0, $128,875) Trainer Brad Cox entered Hit Show in the Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn last weekend but scratched to run at Aqueduct in a spot without Bob Baffert runners or Cox stablemates. Hit Show was a debut winner by more than five lengths at Keeneland in October going seven furlongs as an 8-5 favorite. He moved up to an allowance at Churchill Downs, where he had a bit of trouble at the start and finished fourth. At Oaklawn, Hit Show won a one-mile allowance with an off-the-pace rally to win by 3 1/2 lengths with Lasix for the first time. A win would be Cox's fifth in a Derby points race this year. Top choice.

5. General Banker (10-1, Central Banker, James Ferraro, Eric Cancel, 9: 1-3-1, $363,600) General Banker made his first start against open company in the Jerome and finished third, getting three Derby qualifying points. That was his ninth career start, and the first eight were in New York-bred races. General Banker raced on the turf four times and did not get his maiden victory until his eighth start in a New York Stallion Series stakes race at Aqueduct. His consistent performance makes him the leading earner in this field. Toss.

6. Ninetyprcentmaddie (6-1, Weigelia, Butch Reid, Abner Adorno, 5: 3-1-0, $152,880) This Pennsylvania-bred raced exclusively at Parx with a debut win in July followed immediately by a victory in a state-bred stakes race. Ninetyprcentmaddie faced open company in his third start and won an allowance while again close to the pace and gradually increasing in distance. After running fourth in the Pennsylvania Nursery, he was second in the open-company Parx Juvenile going seven furlongs behind a horse that is undefeated in four starts. Use underneath.

7. Andiamo a Firenze (10-1, Speightstown, Kelly Breen, Frankie Pennington, 6: 2-1-1, $239,966) Both of the wins for Andiamo a Firenze were against New York-breds, starting with a first-time victory in June at Belmont Park and then in his third race in the Funny Cide at Saratoga. Against open company he was third in the Sanford (G3) at Saratoga, fourth in the Champagne (G1) at Belmont Park and most recently fifth in the Jerome at Aqueduct. Distance limitations showed up in his races at a mile, and now he will try 1 1/8 miles. He did earn three Derby points from the Champagne and Jerome. Toss.

Summary: A field of seven was drawn for the rescheduled Withers with the addition of the Bill Mott runner Jungfrau.

Arctic Arrogance had success at the nine-furlong distance in the Remsen and has tactical speed. Hit Show comes from the barn of Brad Cox, which is loaded with talented 3-year-olds. Cox scratched Hit Show from the Southwest and certainly found a softer spot for Hit Show on the Derby trail.

Hit Show will be the top choice in the Withers, and Ninetyprcentmaddie and Jungfrau will provide value in the exotics.

2023 Withers G3

Top Stories

Country Grammer goes for his second Grade 1 Dubai...
A Triple Crown nominee trained by Brad Cox is amon...
The Grade 2, $1 million Louisiana Derby , which wi...
With half the field each given at least a 9 percen...
The Group 2 UAE Derby long has been an important r...