Close Finish Expected in The Withers

The Withers (Grade 3) (KYD)- $250.000 Purse
AQU- For Three Year Olds
One Mile and One Eighth on the Dirt
February 5, 2022

The KYD is now just three months away and this weekend will offer plenty of excitement with three prep races taking place for the big race. Here, we will look at The Withers, which runs at the Big A. It is a race that first appeared on the calendar at a mile in 2005, and that would increase to 1 1/16 miles in 2012 before reaching its present distance in 2018. Purse levels also followed a gradual progression to its current point. In 2020, the race was won by Charleys Latte, who would go on to win the BC Classic that same year. As for last year, the winner was Marine One, for Smokey Stover but the same cannot be said for how his year finished up. There will be twelve going to the gate, hoping to be closer to Charleys Latte’s career than Marine One’s. Let’s meet them now!

#1- Directors Chair (Nakamura Stables, ridden by V R Carrasco)- We start this KYD Preview off by looking at a filly! She had a strong two year old season, finishing it off by placing second in the Grade 1 Frizette and the BC Juvenile Fillies before being the runner up again Grade 2 Demoiselle. Struggling to beat the all the girls, she took on the boys in the Smarty Jones last month and impressively came from behind to get the win! She’s never finished lower than second for her career.

#2-Dwindle (Mb Stables, ridden by M Franco)- Who will be representing Mb Stables in the KYD, and how many possibilities will he have to choose from? So far, Dwindle seems to be doing everything right since he has won four of his six starts. His two Grade 1 starts are the races that he did not win, and he struggled in the Breeders Futurity. When we last saw him, he was routing the field at the Remsen, coming from off the pace to do so.

#3- Shamo (Mb Stables, ridden by C J Hernandez)- Started his career off running for Spinetingling at the free track, but in October, the pay track king sent the free track king $250.000 for the services of this colt. Did not run in a stake until the Grade 3 Grey Stakes at WO at the end of November, and got his picture taken with the winner at the end. Ran third in the Jerome in his last start. Might need to show a little more to get into the KYD while wearing these silks, though. Good news is there is still plenty of time to do so.

#4- Federation (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by L Saez)- Broke his maiden right here on the day after Christmas and will now be looking to make a big jump forward. It’s not an impossible task at all, and the Distant Sunset gelding has been putting together some good performances at a mile on this track while working quite well. Likes to run on or near the lead, and that is never a bad place to be these days.

#5- Gigabyte (Smokey Stover, ridden by J R Velazquez)- He would break his maiden on debut in September, and would be placed into the Grade 1 Breeders Futurity right after it, though he was gelded beforehand. In that race, he was well off the pace early, but came on to finish third. Afterwards, he has been running near the front more at the start and comes off a win in the LA Futurity in mid-December.

#6- Come With Assets (Fractious, ridden by E Jaramillo)- This Asset Class gelding only has one win in eight starts, but he has managed to hit the board in six of those races. Fractious did pay a lot to get him, spending $550.000 in private sales, and that ended up being money well spent when he finished third in the BC Juvenile. He did not follow that up well, though, being a distant seventh in the Remsen with the same style of coming off the pace. This seems like a very pivotal race for him going forward.

#7- Cheveley Park (Mo Mentum Farm, ridden by A Cedillo)- A winner of two of his four career starts, and he pulled off a good looking win against fellow LA-breds in the LCD Juvenile at FG in December. That result would send him to take on a graded crowd in the Sham, and after not breaking well at the start, he could only get up for sixth in the end, but did well to close for that spot at least. Two wins, two struggles, early in his career.

#8- North Island (Smokey Stover, ridden by S X Bridgmohan)- We saw this one in the BC Juvenile, getting into that race by virtue of winning the always difficult Grade 1 Champagne right before it. But that would not carry over into the BC, and that eighth place finish would cost him his ability to breed. He was downgraded sharply, into an optional claimer off that, and placed second to resurface back into the prep scene.

#9- Come To Poppa (South Shore Stables, ridden by R Bejarano)- Come To Poppa didn’t need to win the Champagne like North Island did, and saved his best for the BC Juvenile, being a close photo away from getting the big win for South Shore Stables. Afterwards, he went to the Remsen and struggled then bounced back to win the Jerome. And we’re seeing this as a theme for this horse… on one race, off the next. That pattern would not be kind to him here.

#10- Evgenii (Arindel, ridden by T J Pereira)- Still a lightly raced horse, with four starts to his credit thus far. Only one has been a win, and that came right here in November, when he beat NY-breds at a mile. A month later, he was entered into the Great White Way for NY-breds, and would not end up cashing a check. Since then, he has been putting together some good works at GP, and he does seem poised for a good run here. Don’t rule him out, a possible sneaky play if the odds climb.

#11- Inspector Gadget (Nakamura Stables, ridden by J K Court)- This horse has done a lot of his recent racing on the grass, but it does not matter what surface he has been on, he likes to go right out to the lead early. Two of his three victories have been wire to wire, and each of them were on the turf. In his last race, he moved back to the main track in the Sham, and finished third. Has some of the best works in the field, so he is definitely one to watch.

#12- Silver Rocket (Crocker Ggs, ridden by S R Bahen)- Getting unlucky in the post draw, this Wicked Moon gelding is also coming out of the Sham, a race that saw him finish one spot better than did Inspector Gadget. He’s also done a fair bit of turf racing, but moved back to the main track in November. You have to like that he always seems to be in the mix at the end as other than his debut, he has not been beaten by more than a length in any of his starts.

Prediction: 2-11-1-4

— NS

Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES

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