2017 Withers Stakes Preview, Entries & Odds

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Dave Bond | OTB Writer

OffTrackBetting.com - Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park, New York will play host to the G3 Withers Stakes on Saturday, February 4. Horses three years old will be featured when they take to Aqueduct's dirt track and race 1 1/16 miles searching for the winner's share of the $250,000 purse and the 10 qualifying points toward the Kentucky Derby in May.

A field of 10 will take to the track in the Withers Stakes - race 8 on Aqueduct's Saturday schedule. Post time is 4:20 PM. Here is a look into the past performances of all 10 combatants for this "Road to the Kentucky Derby" G3 stakes.

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2017 Withers Stakes Entries at Aqueduct Racetrack

El Areeb - Cathal Lynch trained colt has three wins and a second place finish in his five career stars. He enters on a terrific three race win streak by a combined 25 1/4 lengths - the G3 Jerome Stakes by an incredible 11 1/4 lengths last time out on this track January 2, the minor James F. Lewis III Stakes at Laurel Park November 19 and a maiden score on that track October 15. El Areeb is on a serious upward trend and will be after a second straight graded stakes score Saturday. Trevor McCarthy has been tabbed to ride the only stakes winner and the class of the field - from gate 4.

Bonus Points - has placed in five of six career starts ahead of this weekend for trainer Todd Pletcher - one win, two seconds and two third place finishes. He enters on the heels of consecutive runner-up finishes - behind El Areeb in the G3 Jerome Stakes on this track last time out in his graded stakes debut January 2 and the restricted Maryland Juvenile Futurity at Laurel Park December 10. Before that was a third in the minor Awad Stakes October 29 and a maiden score at Belmont Park October 1. Bonus Points has been knocking on the door of a first stakes win and hopes it comes Saturday with Manuel Franco aboard from post 5.

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True Timber - has a win and a third place finish in three career starts for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. He enters off a respectable third place finish in the G3 Jerome Stakes on this track January 2 which followed a maiden score by 1 1/2 lengths here December 10 and a fifth in his debut - also here November 19. True Timber has been OK and will be out to make a statement Saturday from the rail. Kendrick Carmouche gets the call.

Square Shooter - will hit the track for the third time Saturday looking to remain unbeaten. His first start was a maiden score November 1 and his second was an Allowance Optional Claiming score by 2 3/4 lengths December 11 - both at Parx. Square Shooter hasn't been touched yet and hopes to continue that trend in his first start around two turns - from post 9 Saturday. Frankie Pennington will be in the irons from post 9.

Always a Suspect - has placed in three of four career starts for trainer Kiaran McLauglin - two wins and a second place finish. He arrives on the heels of a decent stakes debut - a runner-up finish in the minor Lost in the Fog Stakes here January 1. Before that was a two race win streak - a Starter Allowance on this track November 24 and a Maiden Claiming at Belmont Park in October. Always a Suspect has been good and will be in search of his first stakes score from post 7 Saturday with Antonio Gallardo guiding him.

J Boys Echo - will hit the track for the fourth time for trainer Dale Romans having posted a win and a second place finish so far. He stepped into stakes company for the first time last time out and finished fourth in the G3 $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot November 19 after an impressive 5 1/2 length maiden score at Keeneland October 2 and a second in his debut - at Churchill Downs October 2. J Boys Echo has been decent so far and will be out to make some noise from the outside gate 10 Saturday. Robby Albarado has the mount.

Fillet of Sole - Todd Pletcher trained colt has four career starts with a win and three third place finishes. He makes his stakes debut Saturday off a maiden score at Parx November 29 and three straight third place finishes in similar races around New York to start his career. He tries to make it two straight wins in his major step up in competition from gate 6. Rajiv Maragh rides.

Apartfromthecrowd - has three career starts for trainer Chad Brown with a win and a third place finish. He finally broke maiden last time out - here January 14 with a field second-best 81 Beyer Speed Figure, after a third in a similar race on this track December 2 and a fourth in his debut in September. Apartfromthecrowd has improved every time out and hopes to continue that trend in his major step up in competition - from gate 2 with Irad Ortiz guiding him.

Jamie's Angel - has just one win in four career starts for trainer Richard Metivier. He steps into stakes company for the first time Saturday off a maiden score - on this track December 30. Before that was a fourth, a fifth and a twelfth respectively in MSW races to start his career. Jamie's Angel has been largely unflattering before last time out and will be out to build on that effort from post 3. Alan Garcia has the mount from post 3.

Small Bear - Gary Sciacca trained gelding has two wins and a third place finish in his four career starts. He makes his stakes debut Saturday on a two race win streak - an Allowance Optional Claiming last time out at Parx January 17 and a MSW on this track December 18. He started his career with an eighth and a third in MSW races. Small Bear shoots for a third straight win Saturday - in decent shape for his major step up and will leave from gate 8 with Dylan Davis aboard.


2017 Withers Stakes Odds & Entries

Race 8 on Aqueduct's Saturday card with a Post Time of 4:20 PM.

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 True Timber 8-1 Kendrick Carmouche Kiaran McLaughlin
2 Apartfromthecrowd 5-1 Irad Ortiz, Jr. Chad Brown
3 Jaime's Angel 50-1 Alan Garcia Richard Metivier
4 El Areeb 6-5 Trevor McCarthy Cathal Lynch
5 Bonus Points 12-1 Manuel Franco Todd Pletcher
6 Fillet of Sole 10-1 Rajiv Maragh Todd Pletcher
7 Always a Suspect 20-1 Antonio Gallardo Kiaran McLaughlin
8 Small Bear 30-1 Dylan Davis Gary Sciacca
9 Square Shooter 12-1 Frankie Pennington Michael Lerman
10 J Boys Echo 4-1 Robby Albarado Dale Romans

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