Kentucky Derby prep: Withers 2023 odds and analysis

Kentucky Derby prep: Withers 2023 odds and analysis

The Withers has been postponed until Saturday, Feb. 11. This report will be updated.

Saturday’s Grade 3, $250,000 Withers is the fourth of six points races at Aqueduct on the New York road to Kentucky Derby 2023. The 1 1/8-mile race drew a field of six 3-year-olds who will compete for the 20-8-6-4-2 points that go to the top five finishers who are eligible.

The field has three horses who ran in official Derby prep races already, and each of them earned qualifying points. Arctic Arrogance has eight points, and General Banker and Andiamo a Firenze each has three.

Here is a full-field analysis for the Withers, which is scheduled as race 7 with post time set for 3:44 p.m. EST. Each horse is shown with odds from the Horse Racing Nation staff, his sire, trainer, jockey, record and purse earnings.

1. Ninetyprcentmaddie (5-1, 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 who is undefeated in four starts. Use underneath.

2. General Banker (8-1, 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.

3. Arctic Arrogance (7-5, 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 puts him at 12th on the leaderboard. In all five of his races, he has been part of the pace and has run well at four different distances on wet and dry tracks. The grey son of Frosted broke his maiden at first asking against New York-breds and was a stakes winner versus state-breds before moving onto the Derby trail. Blinkers go on. Win contender.

4. Andiamo a Firenze (10-1, Speightstown, Kelly Breen, Kendrick Carmouche, 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.

5. Hit Show (8-5, 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, finding a spot without Bob Baffert runners or Cox stablemates. Hit Show was a debut winner at Keeneland in October going seven furlongs by more than five lengths 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. Cox will try to win his fifth Derby points race with Hit Show. Top choice.

6. Prove Right (15-1, Justify, James Chapman, Jose Gomez, 11: 2-1-2, $149,970). Prove Right has an extensive racing record with 11 starts since his debut in June at Churchill Downs. 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. Since then Prove Right 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 also recognize the Withers will be another tough spot for him. Use underneath.

Summary: A small field of six was drawn for the Withers, but at least half have experience on the Kentucky Derby trail, and the others have wins in state-bred stakes.

Arctic Arrogance had success at the nine-furlong distance in the Remsen and showed 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 him on the Derby trail.

Hit Show will be the top choice in the Withers, and Ninetyprcentmaddie and Prove Right 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...