Thursday, January 31, 2019

Withers Stakes Racing Roundup

©2019 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby takes us coast to coast Saturday with prep races in New York, California and Florida.
At Aqueduct Racetrack in New York, New York, TAX will go to the starting gate as the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the 139th running of the $250,000 Withers Stakes (G3). Post time is 4:30 ET.
Tax comes into this race with a 1-1-1 record in three starts including a third-place finish in the Remsen Stakes (G2) last out. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

TAX strung out three wide on the first turn, prompted the pace as the widest of three for a good portion of the trip on the backstretch, shifted slightly closer to the rail as a duel with the winner got ignited at the half mile pole, was two to three wide issuing a stern bid approaching the quarter pole, got staved off then tired in the last eighth.

Tax ran respectably for the new barn of trainer Danny Gargan to finish third in his first run in stakes competition.
Arch, the sire of Tax, was a multiple graded stakes winner that compiled a 5-1-0 record in seven starts with $480,969 in career earnings.
Arch made only one start as a two-year-old easily winning a maiden special weight at Keeneland in October 1997. As a three-year-old, Arch won an allowance race at Keeneland in April 1998 and compiled a 4-1-0 record in six starts including wins in the 10-furlong Super Derby (G1) and the 9½-furlong Fayette Breeders' Cup Stakes (G3).
Arch passed away in 2016 and as a stallion, his best runners include: Instilled Regard, Nyaleti, Arklow, Blame, Grand Arch, Arravale, Hymn Book, Art Trader, Les Arcs, Archarcharch and Pine Island.
Tax has an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and he’s the best-bred horse in this herd of seven runners. I look for him to improve in his third in his first start as three year old.
LUCKY LEE (7-2) comes into this race for trainer John Servis with a 2-0-0 record in three starts including an impressive win last November at Parx. Here’s the video and chart call:

LUCKY LEE dictated the pace from the start, traveled in the two path around the bend, drew off from upper stretch and won handily as much the best.

Lucky Lee led from the start and pulled away at the top of the stretch to easily win by 6 lengths.
Flatter, the sire of Lucky Lee, was a decent middle-distance horse who competed, mostly, in maiden and allowance races and in his only stakes start he finished third in the 8½-furlong Washington Park Handicap (G2). But in six starts, Flatter compiled a 4-0-1 record and was a winner from 7½-furlongs to 9-furlongs.
As a stallion, his leading runners include West Coast, Flat Out, Upstart, Kobe’s Back, Taris, Lucy’s Bob Boy, Tar Heel Mom and Apart to name a few.
Lucky Lee has a C Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and that makes him competitive in this herd.
A long shot I like is SIR WINSTON (12-1). He comes into this race for trainer Mark Casse with a 2-0-1 record in five starts including a win in the Display Stakes. Here’s the video and chart call:

SIR WINSTON stalked the pace, closed three-wide on the far turn, was under a strong drive and just clear, came in approaching the top of the stretch, opened up early stretch then held under steady pressure.

Sir Winston stalked the leader in second on the outside to the top of the stretch then took the lead to prevail by one length at the finish.
Awesome Again, the sire of Sir Winston, was a good router and multiple graded-stakes winner that compiled a 9-0-2 record in 12 starts with $4,374,590 in career earnings. He ran his best from a mile to 10 furlongs, and was selected as the 2001 Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee.
As a two-year-old, Awesome Again was unraced but at the age of three, he compiled a 3-0-2 record in six starts with wins in the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) and the Canadian classic Queen’s Plate Stakes.
As a four year old, Awesome Again was undefeated in six starts with wins in five stakes races including the Stephen Foster Handicap (G2) and Whitney Handicap (G1), both at nine furlongs, and the 10 furlong Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap (G3), Saratoga Breeders’ Cup Handicap (G2) and the 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic where he defeated the 1997 Kentucky Derby winner, Silver Charm.
Sir Winston has an A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®.
Honorable mention goes to Admire (15-1) and Moretti (3-1).


A total of 35 prep races comprise the USA Road to the Kentucky Derby. In addition, there are seven races on the European road and four races on the Japan road to Derby glory.


Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Game Winner, 30, Bob Baffert, $1,460,000
2. Knicks Go, 18, Ben Colebrook, $656,085
3. Signalman, 18, Ken McPeek, $392,840
4. Long Range Toddy, 14, Steve Asmussen, $330,000
5. Gunmetal Gray, 14, Jerry Hollendorfer, $180,000
6. Mind Control, 10, George Sacco, $295,000
7. Complexity, 10, Chad Brown, $275,000
8. Improbable, 10, Bob Baffert, $239,520
9. War of Will, 10, Mark Casse, $200,840
10. Maximus Mischief, 10, “Butch” Reid, Jr., $137,500
11. Gray Attempt, 10, Jinks Fires, $135,000
12. Mucho Gusto, 4, Bob Baffert, $120,000
13. Our Braintrust, 4, Cathal Lynch, $117,000
14. Code of Honor, 4, Shug McGaughey, $100,000
15. Network Effect, 4, Chad Brown, $90,000
16. Bankit, 4, Steve Asmussen, $80,000
17. Tight Ten, 4, Steve Asmussen, $67,900
18. Sueno, 4, Keith Desormeaux, $65,000
19. Hog Creek Hustle, 4, Vickie Foley, $49,000
20. Plus Que Parfait, 4, Brendan Walsh, $40,000


Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Royal Marine (IRE), 10, Saeed bin Suroor, $264,968
2. Magna Grecia (IRE), 10, Aidan O’Brien, $185,000
3. Mohawk (IRE), 10, Aidan O’Brien, $128,702
4. Japan (GB), 10, Aidan O’Brien, $75,316
5. Phoenix of Spain (IRE), 4, Charlie Hill, $157,944
6. Broome (IRE), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $140,871
7. Sydney Opera House (GB), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $40,956
8. Mount Everest (IRE), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $24,254
9. Anodor (FR), 2, Freddie Head, $99,215
10. Western Australian (IRE), 2, Aidan O’Brien, $43,084
11. Cape of Good Hope (IRE), 2, Aidan O’Brien, $41,515
12. Power of Now (IRE), 2, Michael O’Callaghan, $11,489
13. Boitron (FR), 1, Richard Hannon, $44,917
14. Victory Command, (IRE), 1, Mark Johnston, $35,108
15. Circus Maximus (IRE), 1, Aidan O’Brien, $24,368
16. Sovereign (IRE), 1, Aiden O’Brien, $5,106


Ranking, total points, Trainer, Earnings
1. Nova Lenda (JPN), 20, Takashi Saito, $446,285
2. f-Make Happy, 12, Koichi Shinkai, $184,181
3. Derma Louvre (JPN), 8, Hirofumi Toda, $447,672
4. Gal Vihara, 4, Kiyoshi Hagiwara, $216,271
2. Kingen (JPN), 4, Kunihide Matsuda, $97,867
3. Johaan (JPN), 2, Yasuyuki Takahashi, $72,900
4. Romantico (JPN), 1, Kazuo Fujisawa, $91,245

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