Revolutionary, 3rd place in last year’s Kentucky Derby, made himself known in the Withers Stakes.
Week 2/10 of the Derby Handicap Contest: Submit your choice of horse up to 20 minutes through this link before the scheduled post time of 4:20pm EST for this race. Read the Contest tab for rules and more information.
A small field is up to challenge one another for 17 total Derby points on Aqueduct’s road to the Kentucky Derby in the well-respected Withers Stakes (III). While two top New York-breds will likely command the majority of the betting pools, this is a fairly even race where anything could happen as all of these colts are looking to improve in this race.
$250,000 Withers Stakes (III) - 3-Year-Olds. 1 1/16 miles on inner track dirt at Aqueduct. Post Time: Saturday, February 1 at 4:20pm EST.
[Post Position, Horse - Jockey, Impost, Trainer - Summary, Opinion in italics]
1) Uncle Sigh - Pablo Morales, 116 lbs, Gary Contessa - Coming from a very respectable New York trainer in Contessa, the Indian Charlie New York-bred colt was a game 2nd in his debut before simply romping in his second start back in late December despite floating a bit wide. Uncle Sigh has proved he loves the Big A’s inner track with a win on it at this distance and has the pedigree to be potent. He should be more than ready for a new challenge and has shown he can run loose as well as head-to-head with others.
2) Street Gent - Irad Ortiz Jr, 116 lbs, Leah Gyarmati - Fresh off his maiden win back on December 1 over the highly-regarded Tourist, the Street Sense colt will vouch how good the red-hot Gyarmati barn is going to be this year. He won after switching to a pacesetting position and to the inner track, where that setup is typically favored. However, he will not have it easy in this class test with multiple horses likely apt to try that setup. Ortiz is a 20% rider so far, and Street Gent flaunts my ideal workout pattern of smart short bullets paired with mile breezes. Watch those Street Senses!
3) Scotland - Kendrick Caramouche, 116 lbs, Tony Dutrow - Still a maiden heading into a deeper class, the Horse Greeley colt has made an impression on a few already. He raced a good 3rd last out in the Jerome (II) in January behind Noble Moon and Classic Giacnroll in a race that might have worked against him. He has shown improvement and has run well enough against classy company like Surfing USA and Juba. He improved very mildly switching to the inner track and has not yet shown the kind of kick that convinces me he can win on Saturday for this particular race.
4) Classic Giacnroll - Cornelio Velasquez, 116 lbs, Lisa Guerrero - Both of the Giacomo colt’s 2 wins in 6 starts came in 6-furlong dashes at Parx, which he stole coming from off quick paces. He made up substantial ground late in his last two starts, but couldn’t close the gap on Noble Moon last out in the Jerome (II). An excellent bet if you think there’s going to be a wild speed duel going on up front.
5) Samraat - Jose Ortiz, 118 lbs, Rick Violette - The undefeated entry of the field, the Noble Causeway colt has won each of his three starts by open daylight, the smallest margin being 3 lengths away from the second place horse, with a clear intention of grabbing that lead and holding on. Violette ships Samraat back to his stomping grounds to follow-up on that romping Damon Runyon win over the inner back in December. The horse of the field to beat, he packs some of the best numbers and will likely play “catch me if you can” with this field.
6) Honorable Judge - John Bisono, 118 lbs, Robert Reid - 2-for-3 thus far in his lifetime, the full brother to BC Marathon winner Afleet Again (woop!) comes to the Big A after clinching an allowance win at Parx coming from off the pace, an easy win over Afleet Accompli, who was outclassed here in the Remsen (II) back in November. Honorable Judge was fleeced well enough in his only other stakes start in the Iroquois (III) at Churchill Downs. I don’t feel like this is his race, and certainly not off a 3-month layoff and a move up in class.
Top 3 Picks in Order:
2) Classic Giacnroll
3) Uncle Sigh
For handicapping Aqueduct’s inner, I’m moving with horses with some speed and some potential to move up. Samraat looks extremely tough; even for those who have found gaps of vulnerability in this field for the likely favorite, he’s still going to have to trip or something to expose the chinks in his armor. I like Classic Giacnroll from a potential setup angle as he can whittle down any weakening foes late and possibly improve a bit. Uncle Sigh may or may not gas out trying to chase Samraat… and I’m going to gamble the latter is the better of the two heavyweights.
Value Pick: Not much… roll with Classic Giacnroll (5-1)
Contest Wager: Samraat