Submitted by John Piesen on Monday, February 4, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Aqueduct: Revolutionary headed to Florida to get ready for one last Kentucky Derby prep
Revolutionary’s thrilling neck victory in Saturday’s Grade 3 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct not only earned him a spot on the Triple Crown trail, but it also earned him a trip to south Florida, where he will train while his connections plot out his next race.
Revolutionary, owned by WinStar Farm, overcame a slow start and New York City-like rush hour traffic to get up in the final strides over Escapefromreality to win the Withers. It was Revolutionary’s second straight victory and it earned him 10 points toward qualifying for the May 4 Kentucky Derby.
On Tuesday, Revolutionary, will be shipped by van from Belmont Park to the Palm Meadows training center in south Florida, where his trainer Todd Pletcher is based with all of his top horses. Pletcher reiterated Sunday what WinStar Farm president Elliot Walden said Saturday that Revolutionary will likely have one more race prior to the Kentucky Derby. Pletcher said it was too soon to know where and when that would be.
“My answer is I don’t know right now,” Pletcher said by phone from south Florida. “Put them all down.”
Pletcher and WinStar won the 2010 Kentucky Derby with Super Saver, who came out of the Arkansas Derby. But Pletcher said that if Revolutionary was only going to have one more race, he may not want it to be three weeks out from the Kentucky Derby. Races such as the Florida Derby and Louisiana Derby, both on March 30, may fit better from a timing-perspective.
“We’ll consider the Florida Derby because we’re here and the Fair Grounds, with the long stretch there, you would think that would suit him,” Pletcher said. “There are pros and cons with all of them.”
Pletcher watched the Withers on television from the box seat section at Gulfstream Park. He was obviously concerned when Revolutionary got off to a slow start - the fourth time in five races that has happened - and was impressed by the fact he was able to overcome all the traffic to get up under jockey Javier Castellano.
“We didn’t get to the first turn the way we were hoping so plan B came into play - bide our time and see what happens,” Pletcher said. “Every time Javier tried to make up some position there was another place where there was nowhere to go. I could tell he had a lot of horse if he ever was going to get the opportunity to run.”
While Revolutionary will head to Florida, Withers runner-up Escapefromreality will stay in New York and most likely point to the Grade 3, $400,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct on March 2. That race is expected to draw Remsen winner Overanalyze and Jimmy Winkfield winner Clawback.
A New York-bred gelding by Read the Footnotes, Escapefromreality overcame some traffic of his own to run a solid second in his first start around two turns.
“I’m happy with him, first time going two turns coming out of two sprints,” trainer Dominick Schettino said. “The winner ran a hell of race, but he had run four times.”
Escapefromreality came out of the race “in excellent shape,” according to Schettino.
Revolutionary and Escapefromreality both earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 86.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said that Valid, who stumbled badly at the break of the Withers and finished seventh, tore off a piece of his right front hoof, known as a grabbed quarter, but will ultimately be fine.
McLaughlin had no excuse for Long River, who finished last.
“Just disappointed,” McLaughlin said. “We’ll go back to the drawing board.”