Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Aqueduct: Withers could propel Revolutionary onto Kentucky Derby trail
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Revolutionary will try to join his more celebrated stablemates Shanghai Bobby, Violence, and Overanalyze on the Triple Crown trail when he heads a field of eight entered in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct.
The Withers, run at 1 1/16 miles over the inner track, offers 17 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby on a 10-4-2-1 basis to the top four finishers. None of the horses entered in the Withers has earned any Derby points.
Revolutionary, owned by WinStar Farm, drew post 3 and will be ridden by Javier Castellano, who will be in from Gulfstream for Saturday’s 10-race card.
Revolutionary, a son of 2007 champion 2-year-old War Pass, enters the Withers off an 8 1/2-length victory in a one-mile maiden race over the inner track on Dec. 28. In covering a mile in 1:36.52, Revolutionary earned a 102 Beyer Speed Figure, tops among this field.
Perhaps if his trainer, Todd Pletcher, didn’t have so many Derby-caliber 3-year-olds at Palm Meadows, Revolutionary would have been on the first flight headed to south Florida. But after Pletcher discussed options with Elliott Walden, president of WinStar Farm, the decision was made to keep Revolutionary in New York.
“The initial discussion was to run here and then head south and decide what we want to do, which could include coming back here,” Pletcher said Wednesday in his Belmont Park office. “We’ll see how this race goes on Saturday and analyze.”
Though it took Revolutionary four tries to get his first win, his three losses came with plausible excuses, many of which came at the break of his races.
In his debut at Saratoga, he was clobbered out of the gate and pinched back to last before rallying for third behind Always in a Tiz and Clawback.
In his second start, Revolutionary broke awkwardly and chased Little Distorted around the Belmont oval in what was a freakish performance by the winner.
In his third start, a one-turn mile race at Aqueduct, Revolutionary broke from the rail and was hampered when the horse to his outside, Transparent, came in on him at the start. Revolutionary finished third.
In his first start around two turns, Revolutionary broke sharper, stalked the pace, and beat Transparent by 8 1/2 lengths. Transparent came back to win his next start.
In the Withers, Revolutionary will be taking on just one stakes winner – Smooth Bert, who won the Damon Runyon for New York-breds in December.
“Seems like a good spot,” Pletcher said. “Interested to see how he progresses. We were shopping for an easier spot. This time of year you wouldn’t anticipate a lot of people shipping in.”
The two horses shipping in are Mid-Atlantic-based Siete de Oros and Amerigo Vespucci, the second- and third-place finishers from the Grade 3 Jerome here on Jan. 5.
Long River, fourth in the Jerome, drew the rail and will get Lasix for the first time. He is coupled with Valid, a recent maiden winner at Laurel who drew post 2.
A surprise entrant to the field was Champion Boy, a son of Big Brown who is coming off a maiden win sprinting here on Jan. 20.