Kentucky Derby 2022: Race Review of the G3 Withers Stakes

Trainer Chad Brown and his colt, Early Voting, were best in the Grade 3 Withers on Saturday ... find out how they did it in this race review, below.
Trainer Chad Brown and his colt, Early Voting, were best in the Grade 3 Withers on Saturday ... find out how they did it in this race review, below.

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Trainer Chad Brown watched his talented colt by Gun Runner blaze a frontrunning trail to victory in Saturday’s $250k Grade 3 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack. Early Voting #9, owned by Seth Klarman’s Klaravich Stables, was absolutely stunning, winning by 4+ lengths against 10 others.

The red-lettered “KS” this time was donned by celebrated jockey Jose Ortiz. He has been wining not only here in North America at an excellent clip, but also with a nice performance last month in Saudi Arabia. In-town from riding at Gulfstream Park, Ortiz was set to guide this Brown-trainee, that had only one other race under his belt, a MSW Co. affair that he won on debut.

Going off at practically even-money, bettors were clearly convinced that he could “get” the 1 1/8th distance that this stakes race required. Right at the break, Ortiz hustled his mount out to what was an “easy lead.” In fact, by the ½ mile marker, the colt seemed to be separating himself from the rest of the field. Kelly Breen’s Courvoisier #5 was the closest of the pursuers, but he clearly did not have the ability to keep up once the top of the lane arrived.

As the stretch run unfolded, Early Voting #9 ran nicely, putting the field away, and giving both Klaravich Stables and Brown, a second-consecutive victory in this early February Aqueduct feature. Even though his final time Beyer Speed Figure (78) was not as high as some pundits would have liked … it was still impressive, fraction by fraction, and showed his potential to get the Classic distances of a 1¼ plus …

The short-priced favorite rewarded bettors with … Win, $4.60, Place, $3.80, and Show, $3.30. The best news is that he notches 10 Kentucky Derby Points, and now, Brown has options moving forward. The Gun Runner colt is positioned towards the remainder of the NYRA Series (Gotham/Wood), or he can pivot and go in another direction … Gulfstream, Fair Grounds, Oaklawn …

As for the rest of this field and the KYD148 Points distribution, it was Tony Dutrow’s long shot, Un Ojo #8 that ran a huge race at odds of 28/1 … finishing 2nd with 4 Points. Then it was Bill Mott’s Gilded Age #4 (2 Points), and Mike Maker’s Grantham #2 (1 Point) in that order, that completed the foursome. Next up is the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes on 5 March, which offers 50-20-10-5 at Aqueduct. The Kentucky Derby Trail heats up in the cold at “The Big A!”

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Kentucky Derby 2022

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