Looking at the 2015 Withers Stakes: Casey’s Picks
Looking at the 2015 Withers Stakes; Casey’s Picks: The Withers Stakes has been a very helpful prep for the Kentucky Derby in the past. Horses like Samraat and Revolutionary used the race as a springboard toward Louisville. While the Withers has not produced a winner in quite a while, it has produced winners that have gone on to have illustrious careers, such as Bernardini, Successful Appeal, and Gone West. Before there time, there were the greats like Ack Ack and Count Fleet.
The one-mile and one-sixteenth race on Saturday, February 7, 2015 is a race along the Road to the Kentucky Derby, worth 10-4-2-1 to the top four horses to cross the finish line. This year’s edition features the highly regarded El Kabeir, who is the morning line favorite for the race, for obvious reasons. He is continuing toward Kentucky through the New York races, which also includes the Gotham and the Wood Memorial. Can he be beaten here?
Classy Class (Discreetly Mine – Collegiate, by Saarland) – Classy Class is by the wicked fast Discreetly Mine out of the Saarland mare, Collegiate. With only a maiden score and a fourth place finish in the Remsen to his credit, I don’t think this colt is ready to take on a classy colt like El Kabeir but may be able to hang on for a piece of the pie. His pedigree doesn’t seem likely to get him much further. If anything, this one may need to back it up in distance.
Far From Over (Blame – Alchemist, by A.P. Indy) – After winning his maiden by a nose at Aqueduct going a mile plus seventy yards, the colt has a lovely pedigree to continue to stretch out. He has proven that he can handle Aqueduct, so long as they open the track for racing. His pedigree is lovely and should help him as he matures. I think he could hit the board here and should give him some good experience.
March (Blame – Lifeinthefastlane, by Unbridled’s Song) – After breaking his maiden last out in his second start, March is another young horse for the Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Blame. He also has a very sound pedigree to reach the asked distance. He also broke his maiden going one mile plus seventy yards on the inner track at Aqueduct and should improve off his performance. His running style of pressing the pace could cost El Kabeir, if he goes to the lead.
Tencendur (Warrior’s Reward – Still Secret, by Hennessy) – Meeting up with Far From Over once again, who defeated Tencendur in his debut; this one is also coming in off a maiden win. Breaking his maiden at one mile plus seventy yards on the inner track at Aqueduct, the colt has a nice pedigree to be able to get this added distance. His style is similar to March, liking to press the pace, but can he press it fast enough to cost El Kabeir the race?
Unrivaled (Super Saver – Safety, by Unbridled) – Take five tried to break his maiden and relocating to Parx to do it, I don’t see an upside to this colt’s ability to defeat El Kabeir. His works are solid, but what I do like about him is his pedigree. Pedigree isn’t always everything, but his pedigree screams classic. Sired by a Kentucky Derby winner and his broodmare sire won the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders’ Cup Classic before moving on to a fantastic stud career.
General Bellamy (Bellamy Road – Sweet Again, by Awesome Again) – Having already faced El Kabeir at Aqueduct once, in the G2 Jerome, General Bellamy could likely improve off that performance. His pedigree suggests that he will like the 8.5 furlongs and his two works since the Jerome have been enough for me to consider hi El Kabeir’s biggest threat. He is a deep closer and if the pace is honest, I like his chances.
El Kabeir (Scat Daddy – Great Venue, by Unbridled’s Song) – This Zayat horse has likely the best chance to make the Kentucky Derby for the owners who has been a large presence on the scene in recent years. His pedigree screams the 8.5F distance and he obviously likes Aqueduct, as his last race proved. His last three works have been impressive and he continues to seemingly get better. He is the horse to beat for obvious reasons and is looking to make his win streak three in a row.
Casey’s Opinions: I am really anxious to see how both Far From Over and March improve off their maiden scores. Their pedigrees both scream classic distance and they likes the Aqueduct track. El Kabeir is the horse to beat in the race and I like his chances to continue his win streak toward Kentucky. However, my biggest concern is the horses in here that like to press the pace. While none of these horses are need the lead types, the several pace pressers could set the race up for a closer like General Bellamy. I like his chanced to reproduce his maiden score if this happens.
Casey’s Picks: El Kabeir/General Bellamy/Far From Over, box
Withers Stakes Events & Fashion
Withers Stakes 2015 Post Positions & Odds
Race #8 4:13 PM ET
1 Classy Class 2-1 Ortiz, Jr./McLaughlin
2 Far From Over 5-1 Franco/Pletcher
3 March 6-1 Ortiz/Brown
4 Tencendur 12-1 Velasquez/Weaver
5 Unrivaled 20-1 Pennington/Montoya
6 General Bellamy 15-1 Alvarado/Mott
7 El Kabeir 8-5 Lopez/Terranova