2023 Withers Stakes Contenders at Aqueduct

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NYRA Press Release
Updated: February 08, 2023

Withers Stakes Offers 20-8-6-4-2 Kentucky Derby Points To Top-Five Finishers

Arctic Arrogance, Chester and Mary Broman's graded stakes-placed New York homebred, will contest graded stakes company for the second time in the Grade 3, $250,000 Withers Stakes, a nine-furlong test for sophomores, at Aqueduct Racetrack on Saturday, February 11.

The Withers, which was rescheduled from last Saturday when live racing was canceled at the Big A due to high winds and extreme cold, is a prep race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and awards the top-five finishers 20-8-6-4-2 qualifying points towards the prestigious Grade 1 test on May 6 at Churchill Downs.

Juddmonte's Jungfrau is the lone newcomer to the field, which includes all six horses who entered last week.

The Withers is slated as Race 9 on Saturday's 10-race card, which also features the $100,000 Jimmy Winkfield for sophomore sprinters in Race 3. First post is 12:20 p.m. Eastern.

2023 Withers Stakes Field & Odds

Race 9 at Aqueduct on Saturday, February 11 - Post 4:27 PM

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Arctic Arrogance 8-5 Jose Lezcano
118 Lbs
Linda Rice
2 Prove Right 30-1 Jose Gomez
118 Lbs
James Chapman
3 Jungfrau 4-1 Dylan Davis
118 Lbs
William Mott
4 Hit Show 9-5 Manuel Franco
118 Lbs
Brad Cox
5 General Banker 8-1 Eric Cancel
118 Lbs
James Ferraro
6 Ninetyprcentmaddie 8-1 Abner Adorno
120 Lbs
Robert Reid, Jr.
7 Andiamo a Firenze 12-1 Frankie Pennington
118 Lbs
Kelly Breen

Arctic Arrogance, who is trained by Linda Rice, will be making this third appearance in a Kentucky Derby points race at the Big A. He looks to break through after valiant runner-up efforts in the nine-furlong Grade 2 Remsen on December 3 and the one-mile Jerome on January 7. He is currently 13th on the leaderboard with eight points.

Rice had previously indicated that Arctic Arrogance has proven to be a challenge to keep fit into his races, including the Jerome when he missed a scheduled work leading into the race. Rice said Arctic Arrogance has maintained good fitness through the extra week between races, working an additional five-furlongs in 1:03.22 over the Belmont dirt training track Friday.

"We didn't have any weather and didn't miss any works," Rice said of the time between the Jerome and the Withers. "Obviously, we were planning on running last week, but with the cancelation, I breezed him before the weather hit us. It was not ideal and the schedule isn't perfect, but it is what it is."

The son of Frosted displayed his talents on debut with a pacesetting one-length score in a state-bred maiden sprint in September over a muddy and sealed main track at Saratoga Race Course. He followed with a similar frontrunning trip in the seven-furlong Bertram F. Bongard in September at Belmont at the Big A against state-breds, finishing second to upset winner Jackson Heights.

Horse Racing Rebates

Arctic Arrogance made his open company debut in the Remsen, where he set the pace under returning pilot Jose Lezcano and battled gamely down the lane with the victorious Dubyuhnell to come up a half-length shy of victory. He traveled in second position throughout in the next-out Jerome, finishing a half-length back of the frontrunning winner Lugan Knight.

Rice said she is hopeful a return to nine furlongs will benefit the grey colt.

"He ran well in the Remsen as a 2-year-old, so you would think at this point that the mile-and-an-eighth will be good for him," Rice said.

Arctic Arrogance will sport blinkers for the first time in the Withers after wearing them for his last few morning workouts.

"Lezcano breezed him in them," said Rice. "We felt with the blinkers, he went on by himself rather than being reluctant to leave other horses. It's going well."

Arctic Arrogance will emerge from post 1.

Juddmonte's Kentucky homebred Jungfrau [post 3, Dylan Davis] makes his stakes debut for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott on the heels of a third-out graduation on December 31 at Gulfstream Park.

The grey son of Arrogate raced close to the pace throughout the 1 1/16-mile contest under Jose Ortiz before challenging Expect More from the three-quarters call and into the turn. The two continued to battle down the stretch with Expect More carrying Jungfrau wide at the three-sixteenths and crossing the finish line a nose ahead in a final time of 1:46.33. A steward's inquiry and an objection from Ortiz resulted in the disqualification of Expect More and Jungfrau was awarded the maiden-breaking victory.

The win came after two fourth-place finishes at New York racetracks, including his September 3 debut at Saratoga Race Course that was won by subsequent Grade 3 Nashua winner Champions Dream. Garrett O'Rourke, Juddmonte's General Manager, said Jungfrau has gained valuable experience in each of his outings.

"He's a horse that, at this stage of the game, you've got to step it up another notch," said O'Rourke. "He definitely has been stepping things up with every performance, as 3-year-olds often do. I think professionalism alone will improve his performance. He's been to New York and Florida, he's been inside of horses and outside of horses. He's run green but he's had plenty of experience while doing all of that."

Jungfrau made his final preparations on Sunday, breezing five-eighths in 1:02.60 at Payson Park Training Center.

LC Racing's Ninetyprcentmaddie [post 6, Abner Adorno] will look to notch his first open-company stakes victory on the heels of a game runner-up effort in the seven-furlong Parx Juvenile on January 3 at its namesake track.

´╗┐Trained by Butch Reid, Jr., the Pennsylvania-bred son of Weigelia broke from the inside post in the field of eight under Paco Lopez and dueled for the early lead before settling in third at the half-mile call. He angled out down the stretch under strong urging from Lopez, but settled for second 2 3/4 lengths in arrears of the victorious Recruiter.

Reid, Jr. said that while the inside post hampered Ninetyprcentmaddie in his last start, he is confident Adorno can secure outside position with added ground.

"I have no doubt it hurt him last time," said Reid, Jr. "Paco got him back outside and he made a nice second run. I look forward to getting him a chance to settle on the outside and see what happens. Going a mile and an eighth, he should be able to do it very comfortably and he should be on or near the lead."

The Withers will be both the first start beyond sprint distances and outside of Parx for Ninetyprcentmaddie, whose lone stakes victory was a wire-to-wire 3 1/2-length score in the 5 1/2-furlong Whistle Pig against fellow Pennsylvania-breds in August. The bay colt's breeding suggests he should relish a stretch out, with his full-sister, Ninetypercentbrynn, earning all four of her lifetime victories around two turns for Reid, Jr.

"I think he'll handle it fine," said Reid, Jr. "His big sister was a natural route horse. He's got a great head on his shoulders and a grinding way of running, so I think he'll handle it well."

Ninetyprcentmaddie had his final breeze for the Withers on January 28 at Parx, covering a half-mile in 49.83 seconds.

"He had a sensational breeze the other day," said Reid, Jr. "He went 49 and change and did it like breaking sticks. He came out of it real well."

Mr. Amore Stable's New York homebred Andiamo a Firenze enters from a distant fifth-place finish in the aforementioned Jerome for trainer Kelly Breen. There, he stalked the pace under Kendrick Carmouche, but failed to fire after racing in the two-path around the turn, finishing 10 lengths in arrears of Lugan Knight.

Andiamo a Firenze is in search of his first victory since the Funny Cide presented by Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in August sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs against fellow state-breds at Saratoga. He scored the 5 1/2-length victory after a prominent trip under Irad Ortiz, Jr., notching both his first triumph against winners and his first stakes coup. That effort came on the heels of a third-place effort in the Grade 3 Sanford in July at the Spa and a debut maiden score in June at Belmont Park.

The dark bay son of Speightstown, who is a three-quarter sibling to multiple Grade 1-winner Firenze Fire, earned another stakes placing in October at Finger Lakes Racetrack when defeated a nose by Acoustic Ave. in the New York Breeders' Futurity. There, he finished one length ahead of the filly Stonewall Star, who exited that effort to win the Key Cents in November and the Franklin Square on January 22 at the Big A.

Frankie Pennington, who takes over the reins from an injured Carmouche, will ride from post 7.

Completing the field are trainer James Chapman and Stuart Tsujimoto's graded stakes-placed Prove Right [post 2, Jose Gomez]; Gary and Mary West's Hit Show [post 4, Manny Franco], who scratched out of the Grade 3 Southwest on January 28 at Oaklawn Park in favor of this spot for trainer Brad Cox; and Seacoast Thoroughbreds of New England's stakes-winner General Banker [post 5, Eric Cancel], who finished third in the Jerome last out for trainer James Ferraro.

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Original Story for FEB 4 - before rescheduling

UPDATE: FEB 2 - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) has canceled live racing on Friday and Saturday (Feb 3 & 4) at Aqueduct Racetrack due to high winds and frigid temperatures forecast to impact the New York metropolitan area.

Saturday's featured Grade 3, $250,000 Withers, offering 20-8-6-4-2 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-five finishers, will be brought back on Saturday, February, 11. Entries for the Withers will be taken on Wednesday, February 8.


Arctic Arrogance, Chester and Mary Broman's graded stakes-placed New York homebred, will make his second attempt at securing a graded triumph in the Grade 3, $250,000 Withers Stakes, a nine-furlong test for sophomores, at Aqueduct Racetrack on Saturday, February 4.

The Withers, a prep race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, will award the top-five finishers 20-8-6-4-2 qualifying points, respectively, towards the prestigious Grade 1 test on May 6 at Churchill Downs.

The Withers is slated as Race 7 on Saturday's nine-race card, which also features the $100,000 Ruthless for sophomore fillies in Race 3. First post is 12:40 p.m. Eastern.

Trained by Linda Rice, Arctic Arrogance will be making this third appearance in a Kentucky Derby points race at the Big A, looking to break through after valiant runner-up efforts in the nine-furlong Grade 2 Remsen on December 3 and the one-mile Jerome on January 7. He is currently 12th on the leaderboard with eight points.

2023 Withers Stakes Field & Odds

Race 7 at Aqueduct on Saturday, February 4 - Post 3:44 PM

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Ninetyprcentmaddie 8-1 Abner Adorno
120 Lbs
Robert Reid, Jr.
2 General Banker 6-1 Eric Cancel
118 Lbs
James Ferraro
3 Arctic Arrogance 6-5 Jose Lezcano
118 Lbs
Linda Rice
4 Andiamo a Firenze 10-1 Kendrick Carmouche
118 Lbs
Kelly Breen
5 Hit Show 7-5 Manuel Franco
118 Lbs
Brad Cox
6 Prove Right 20-1 Jose Gomez
118 Lbs
James Chapman

The son of Frosted displayed his talents on debut with a pacesetting one-length score in a state-bred maiden in September over a muddy and sealed main track at Saratoga Race Course. He followed with a similar frontrunning trip in the Bertram F. Bongard in September at Belmont at the Big A against state-breds, finishing second to upset winner Jackson Heights.

Arctic Arrogance made his open company debut in the Remsen, where he set the pace under returning pilot Jose Lezcano and battled gamely down the lane with Dubyuhnell to come up a half-length shy of victory. He traveled in second position throughout in the next-out Jerome, finishing a half-length back of the frontrunning winner Lugan Knight.

Rice said she is hopeful a return to nine furlongs will benefit the grey colt.

"He ran well in the Remsen as a 2-year-old, so you would think at this point that the mile-and-an-eighth will be good for him," Rice said.

Greyhound Betting

Arctic Arrogance will sport blinkers for the first time in the Withers after wearing them for his last few morning workouts.

"Lezcano breezed him in them," said Rice. "We felt with the blinkers, he went on by himself rather than being reluctant to leave other horses. It's going well."

Rice had previously indicated that Arctic Arrogance has proven to be a challenge to keep fit into his races, including the Jerome when he missed a scheduled work leading into the race. Rice said fitness is not a concern this time.

"Not this time around," said Rice, who won the 2020 Withers with Max Player. "We didn't have any weather and didn't miss any works."

Arctic Arrogance will emerge from post 3.

LC Racing's Pennsylvania homebred Ninetyprcentmaddie [post 1, Abner Adorno] will look to notch his first open-company stakes victory on the heels of a game runner-up effort in the seven-furlong Parx Juvenile on January 3 at its namesake track.

Trained by Butch Reid, Jr., the son of Weigelia broke from the inside post in the field of eight under Paco Lopez and dueled for the early lead before settling in third at the half-mile call. He angled out down the stretch under strong urging from Lopez, but settled for second 2 3/4 lengths in arrears of the victorious Recruiter.

Reid, Jr. said that while the inside post hampered Ninetyprcentmaddie in his last start, he is confident Adorno can secure outside position with added ground.

"I have no doubt it hurt him last time," said Reid, Jr. "Paco got him back outside and he made a nice second run. I look forward to getting him a chance to settle on the outside and see what happens. Going a mile and an eighth, he should be able to do it very comfortably and he should be on or near the lead."

The Withers will be both the first start beyond sprint distances and outside of Parx for Ninetyprcentmaddie, whose lone stakes victory was a wire-to-wire 3 1/2-length score in the Whistle Pig against fellow Pennsylvania-breds in August.

´╗┐The bay colt's breeding suggests he should relish a stretch out, with his full-sister, Ninetypercentbrynn, earning all four of her lifetime victories around two turns for Reid, Jr.

"I think he'll handle it fine," said Reid, Jr. "His big sister was a natural route horse. He's got a great head on his shoulders and a grinding way of running, so I think he'll handle it well."

Ninetyprcentmaddie made his final preparations for the Withers on Saturday at Parx, covering a half-mile in 49.83 seconds.

"He had a sensational breeze the other day," said Reid, Jr. "He went 49 and change and did it like breaking sticks. He came out of it real well."

Andiamo a Firenze, Mr. Amore Stable's New York homebred, enters from a distant fifth-place finish in the aforementioned Jerome for trainer Kelly Breen. There, he stalked the pace under Kendrick Carmouche, but failed to fire after racing in the two-path around the turn, finishing 10 lengths in arrears of Lugan Knight.

Andiamo a Firenze is in search of his first victory since the Funny Cide presented by Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in August sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga. He scored the 5 1/2-length victory after a prominent trip under Irad Ortiz, Jr., notching both his first triumph against winners and his first stakes coup. That effort came on the heels of a third-place effort in the Grade 3 Sanford in July at the Spa and a debut maiden score in June at Belmont Park.

The dark bay son of Speightstown, who is a three-quarter sibling to multiple Grade 1-winner Firenze Fire, earned another stakes placing in October at Finger Lakes Racetrack when defeated a nose by Acoustic Ave. in the New York Breeders' Futurity. There, he finished one length ahead of the filly Stonewall Star, who exited that effort to win the Key Cents in November and the Franklin Square on January 22 at the Big A.

Carmouche retains the mount from post 4.

Gary and Mary West's Kentucky homebred Hit Show was scratched from Saturday's Grade 3 Southwest at Oaklawn Park and rerouted to the Withers by trainer Brad Cox.

The grey son of Candy Ride arrives from a strong 3 1/2-length in a one-mile optional claimer on December 17 at Oaklawn, closing from 3 1/2 lengths off the pace to notch his first victory against winners. He showed great improvement from his previous start, an even fourth-place finish after bobbling at the start traveling 1 1/16 miles in November at Churchill Downs.

He was an impressive debut maiden winner sprinting seven furlongs in October at Keeneland, earning the 5 1/2-length victory in a final time of 1:25.80.

Manny Franco has the call from post 5.

Completing the field are Seacoast Thoroughbreds of New England's stakes-winner General Banker [post 2, Eric Cancel], who finished third in the Jerome last out for trainer James Ferraro; and trainer James Chapman and Stuart Tsujimoto's Prove Right [post 6, Jose Gomez], who finished a close third in the Grade 3 Nashua in November at Aqueduct.

Pre-Draw News

JAN 22 - Chester and Mary Broman's graded-stakes placed New York-homebred Arctic Arrogance breezed six furlongs in 1:15 flat Sunday over the Belmont dirt training track. He finished a game second last out here in the Jerome.

He is one of 20 horses nominated to the nine-furlong Grade 3, $250,000 Withers on February 4 at the Big A which offers 20-8-6-4-2 Kentucky Derby points to the top-five finishers.

2023 Withers Stakes Probables

Probable: Arctic Arrogance (Linda Rice), Classic Catch (Todd Pletcher), General Banker (James Ferraro), Hit Show (Brad Cox)

Possible: Classic Legacy (Bill Mott), Lord Miles (Saffie Joseph, Jr.), Mr Bob (Robert Falcone, Jr.), Mr. Ripple (Joseph, Jr.)

General Banker eyes G3 Withers with half-mile tune-up

JAN 22 - Seacoast Thoroughbreds of New England's New York homebred General Banker, who was last seen finishing a closing third in the Jerome on January 7 at Aqueduct Racetrack, had his first breeze back over the Belmont Park dirt training track Sunday. The son of Central Banker covered a half-mile solo in 49.65 seconds.

"I had him a few ticks faster than the clockers did, but he galloped out five-eighths pretty good," said trainer Jimmy Ferraro.

General Banker earned his first stakes victory two starts back with an emphatic maiden-breaking score in the $500,000 NYSSS Great White Way, dominating his 10 rivals by 8 1/2 lengths with a rallying trip under Eric Cancel. He made his open company debut in the Jerome and finished third after racing keenly and running up on the heels of a foe down the backstretch.

"He was a little on the muscle last time," said Ferraro. "I don't know if he would have won, but he would have been closer if he hadn't been [so keen]."

Ferraro said General Banker has been nominated to the nine-furlong Grade 3, $250,000 Withers on February 4 at the Big A, which offers 20-8-6-4-2 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-five finishers.

"We're going to take a good look at that," said Ferraro. "They've got the [state-bred] Gander on February 25 going a mile, too."

General Banker boasts a 9-1-3-1 record with total earnings of $363,600.

Arctic Arrogance breezes for G3 Withers

JAN 15 - Chester and Mary Broman's graded-stakes placed New York-homebred Arctic Arrogance, with blinkers on, breezed a half-mile under Jose Lezcano in 50.47 seconds Sunday over the Belmont dirt training track in his first breeze since a runner-up effort in the Jerome on January 7 here.

The Frosted sophomore raced in second position throughout the one-turn mile Jerome, finishing a half-length back of West Coast-based shipper Lugan Knight.

Horse Racing Rebates

Rice said she's looking forward to stretching Arctic Arrogance back out to nine furlongs in the Grade 3, $250,000 Withers on February 4. The Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifier offers 20-8-6-4-2 points to the top-five finishers.

"He had a good workout this morning," Rice said. "We missed a breeze coming into the Jerome over the holiday with bad weather. I thought he was a little heavy coming into the race, so I want to make sure the same thing doesn't happen going into the Withers."

Arctic Arrogance, who captured the one-turn mile Sleepy Hollow here against fellow state-breds on October 30, is currently ranked 10th on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with eight points. He picked up four qualifying points for a runner-up effort to Dubyuhnell in the nine-furlong Grade 2 Remsen on December 3, which was contested over a sloppy and sealed Aqueduct main track.

Withers Stakes History

The Withers Stakes has a storied history dating back to 1874 when it was run at Jerome Park. The race has been run at a number of different New York tracks including Belmont Park from 1984-1996 and three years in the 1950's. The Withers is currently held on Aqueduct's inner track in Queens, NY and it is a Grade III event for 3-year-olds with a purse of $250,000. The race is in early February and is a `Road to the Kentucky Derby' prep race with the top four finishers earning Derby qualifying points (10-4-2-1). The Withers also serves as a prep race for the Wood Memorial in April at Aqueduct.

The Withers was historically run at a distance of 1 mile, and the race record was 1:32.40 by Williamstown (1993). The Withers distance was lengthened to 1 1/16 miles in 2012, and Far From Over (2015) holds that distance record in the Withers at 1:43.93.

Notable horses have won the Withers throughout history, including Triple Crown winners Sir Barton (1919) and Count Fleet (1943). Sir Barton became the first winner of what would be known as the American Triple Crown. Man O' War (1920) won 20-of-21 races including the Preakness and Belmont Stakes but skipped the Kentucky Derby. Native Dancer (1953) won 21-of-22 lifetime races with his lone loss in the Kentucky Derby. Additionally, 2006 winner Bernardini went on to win the Preakness Stakes that year.

The Withers was not run in 1911 or 1912 when the New York State legislated a ban on all forms of wagering on horses. Since Aqueduct's opening in the mid 1970's, the only horse hardy enough to race in the colder weather over the inner track and then go on to win the Kentucky Derby was 2004 Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones.

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