2023 Withers Stakes Betting Odds and Contenders Preview
The Kentucky Derby trail returns to Aqueduct on Saturday, February 11 for the $250,000 Withers (G3), a 20-8-6-4-2 point race on the Kentucky Derby trail. The race was originally scheduled for Saturday, February 4 but was pushed back a week due to inclement weather. The race covers 1 ⅛ miles on the dirt, making it a good early-season test of stamina for Kentucky Derby prospects.
The newly drawn edition of the Withers features seven runners. Though none are yet graded winners, stakes winners in the field include Andiamo a Firenze, Ninetyprcentmaddie, General Banker, and Arctic Arrogance. One of the likely favorites is Hit Show, who tries stakes company for the first time in this race but won an Oaklawn allowance impressively in December.
The 2022 winner of this race, Early Voting, went on to win the Preakness Stakes. Other important horses to win the Withers in recent years include Travers (G1) winner Alpha (2012), Jim Dandy winner Tax (2019), and 2021 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) winner Max Player (2020).
Withers Stakes 2023 Information
Race Date: Saturday, February 11, 2023
Post Time: 4:27 Eastern Standard Time
Distance: 1 1/8 miles
Where to Watch: FanDuel TV
Where to Bet: TVG.com and FanDuel Racing
Withers Stakes Odds
This is the field for the 2023 Withers Stakes, arranged by post position. It includes trainers, jockeys, and post positions for each horse. Morning lines will be added when they are available.
|1||Arctic Arrogance||Linda Rice||Jose Lezcano||8/5|
|2||Prove Right||James Chapman||Jose Gomez||30/1|
|3||Jungfrau||Bill Mott||Dylan Davis||4-1|
|4||Hit Show||Brad Cox||Manuel Franco||9-5|
|5||General Banker||James Ferraro||Eric Cancel||8/1|
|6||Ninetyprcentmaddie||Robert Reid, Jr.||Abner Adorno||8/1|
|7||Andiamo a Firenze||Kelly Breen||Frankie Pennington||12-1|
Withers Stakes Prep Results
Three of the seven entrants come out of the Jerome, the previous Kentucky Derby points race at Aqueduct. Though winner Lugan Knight does not ship back out for the Withers, the other two horses who hit the board return. Arctic Arrogance, who finished a half-length second in the Jerome, leads that group. It was another seven lengths back to third-place General Banker, who also returns here. Fifth-place Andiamo a Firenze, who was bumped near the five eights and weakened, also tries again in this spot.
The other four runners all come from different races. Two come out of stakes. Prove Right, the most experienced in the field with 11 starts, most recently ran fifth and last in the Turfway Preview over Tapeta; he returns to the Aqueduct dirt, a surface on which he is Grade 3-placed. Ninetyprcentmaddie most recently ran second in a sloppy edition of the Parx Juvenile on January 3.
Two others come out of non-stakes events. Hit Show most recently won an allowance optional claiming race going a mile at Oaklawn, clearing late to win by 3 ½ lengths. Jungfrau most recently broke his maiden at Gulfstream; he was nosed out at the wire but placed first after the first horse past the wire was disqualified for interference in the upper stretch.
Withers Stakes Contenders
These are the contenders in the 2023 Withers Stakes, organized by post position:
Arctic Arrogance: His only stakes win came against New York-bred company, but he has finished half a length second to two promising Derby prospects in his only open stakes tries: behind Dubyuhnell in the Remsen (G2) and behind Lugan Knight in the Jerome. He needs to show he can beat that one last horse, but he does have both early speed and the ability to keep fighting and find the frame, even if he faces a challenge during the first stages of the race.
Prove Right: With 11 starts, he has a lot of experience, but he has yet to prove he has the necessary class to take down a Derby prep. He had an early-season victory at Churchill last year, but against winners, the only times he crossed the wire first were in allowances at Timonium (where he was disqualified) and Laurel. He did finish a credible enough third in the Nashua (G2), his best showing by far in a stakes race, but he will face faster early speed this time and may find himself outclassed.
Jungfrau: Last-out maiden winners have done very well in the Withers in recent years, and this is the only last-out maiden winner in the field. He broke his maiden by a disqualification on December 31 at Gulfstream, but he was beaten only a nose, and that victory did come, going a mile and a sixteenth at Gulfstream. Though he was well beaten in his only 1 ⅛-mile try at Aqueduct, he has had a few more months to mature. However, he needs a significant step forward speed-wise to be a threat.
Hit Show: A midpack type, he may relish the fact that there are several speed horses in this race, though judging from his two wins, he does not actually need a pace collapse to make a winning run. This talented Brad Cox trainee has been working frequently since his allowance victory at Oaklawn in December, and his pedigree suggests that the step up to a mile and an eighth should be within his abilities. Trainer Brad Cox has also been razor-sharp with Aqueduct shippers: he has only run 12 at the meet, but has six wins and three seconds to show for it.
General Banker: With nine starts, he is one of the more experienced in the field. However, he has won only once in that time, and that win came in New York-bred company, going one turn, over a sloppy track. Nine furlongs against open company on a dry day is a whole different challenge, one he has yet to show he is up to. His only start against open company came last out in the Jerome, where he finished a troubled third, though still 7 ½ lengths beaten by Lugan Knight.
Ninetyprcentmaddie: This Pennsylvania-bred with tactical speed makes his first foray out of Parx for the Withers. He beat open company at the maiden and allowance level, and also has a state-bred stakes win. He was not disgraced finishing second in an open stakes on January 3 at Parx, though that was a seven-furlong sprint over sloppy dirt, and now he tries two turns for the first time in this spot. That may be the biggest challenge of all; his pedigree suggests sprinter or miler more than this nine-furlong trip.
Andiamo a Firenze: One of the most exciting New York-breds of last year, He has a lot of early speed to flash from the outside. However, he has yet to prove that he wants any part of this distance. Even his two one-turn mile trips have been his two worst performances to date, and now he stretches out an extra furlong and tries two turns for the first time. Perhaps he can improve second off the layoff, but the distance may be too much of an obstacle to overcome.
Withers Stakes Past Winners Past Performances
Last-out maiden winners have had an excellent record in recent editions of the Withers. Five of the last ten winners of the race, including each of the last three, came fresh out of a maiden special weight win and scored in the Withers in their first start against winners. These include Revolutionary (2013), Far From Over (2015), Max Player (2020), Risk Taking (2021), and Early Voting (2022). Among these five last-out maiden winners, four graduated at Aqueduct; Max Player, who graduated at Parx, is the lone exception.
The Remsen (G2), an autumn two-year-old race covering the same course and distance as the Withers, has been the last-out race for two of the last ten winners. Avery Island (2018) was 2nd in the Remsen in his last start before winning the Withers, and Tax (2019) was third.
The other three winners in the last ten years came out of other stakes races. Samraat (2014) came out of a New York-bred stakes win in the Damon Runyon, Sunny Ridge (2016) had been second in the Delta Jackpot (G3), and El Areeb (2017) came out of a victory in the Jerome (G3).
Withers Stakes Card
The Withers is the ninth of a ten-race card at Aqueduct on Saturday, February 11. The card also features the Jimmy Winkfield Stakes, an $100,000 race for three-year-old sprinters. With larger fields in maiden, claiming, and allowance events throughout the day as well, it is an excellent day to plan on watching and wagering through FanDuel and TVG!
Aqueduct is New York’s winter and spring destination for horse racing and typically runs from November through April. The track opened in 1894, getting its name from the fact that it shared a property with a conduit that delivered water to New York City. One of many tracks around New York City at the time, it has managed to stand the test of time while other courses like Gravesend and Sheepshead Bay did not survive. Its flagship races include the Carter (G1), the Cigar Mile (G1), and the Wood Memorial (G1).
Its current layout features three tracks: a 1 ⅛-mile dirt track with a mile chute, a one-mile outer turf course, and an inner turf course of about seven furlongs. The inner track was previously a second dirt course, but in 2017 Aqueduct winterized the outer dirt course and converted the inner track to grass.
Withers Stakes FAQ
Q: When is the Withers Stakes?
A: The 2023 Withers Stakes will be run Saturday, February 11 at 4:27 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Q: Where is the Withers Stakes?
A: It takes place at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York City.
Q: Which trainer has the most wins in the Withers Stakes?
A: James G. Rowe, Sr. holds the record for the most wins in the Withers with five, though all of those came between 1883 and 1909. The greatest among his winners was Colin (1908), a Hall of Fame inductee who finished his career undefeated in 15 starts. Among trainers in the 2023 edition, two have won the race once before. Linda Rice won in 2020 with Max Player, and Robert Reid, Jr. won in 2010 with Afleet Again.
Q: Who is the favorite for the 2023 Withers Stakes?
A: The likely favorite in the 2023 Withers is Hit Show, who comes off of a sharp allowance victory for trainer Brad Cox. However, expect Arctic Arrogance to take some interest at the windows as well; he has finished second in two straight points races in New York.
Q: Who is the best Withers Stakes jockey?
A: The great Eddie Arcaro has the most Withers wins with six, between 1940 and 1955. His greatest winner was Hill Prince (1950), who won the Preakness en route to Horse of the Year honors that year. Among jockeys entered in the 2023 edition, Manuel Franco leads with two wins, with Far From Over (2015) and Sunny Ridge (2016). Dylan Davis and Eric Cancel have each won the race once as well.
Q: Who won the 2022 Withers Stakes?
A: Early Voting won the 2022 Withers Stakes for trainer Chad Brown and jockey Jose Ortiz. Neither of them return with a runner in this year’s edition.