Flexibility (background) finishing second in the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct
Photo by NYRA/Coglianese Photos/Chelsea Durand
Flexibility, the promising Derby contender that won the Jerome Stakes (gr. III) on January 2nd in impressive fashion, will face just six rivals when he starts as the heavy favorite in the $250,000 Withers Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct.
The 8.5-furlong race serves as an official prep race for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), offering qualification points to the top four finishers on a 10-4-2-1 basis. Trained by Chad Brown, Flexibility has finished first or second in all four of his races to date, including a strong runner-up effort to early Kentucky Derby favorite Mohaymen in the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct. But it was his performance in the Jerome, which he won by 4 1/4 lengths, that has stamped him as a decisive favorite for the Withers.
Among the newcomers are Sunny Ridge, runner-up in the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) and Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes (gr. III); Adventist, who won a six-furlong maiden special weight at Aqueduct last month by 11 1/4 lengths; Cards of Stones, runner-up in a one-mile and seventy-yard allowance optional claiming race at Aqueduct; and King Kranz, who won the Lost in the Fog Stakes at Aqueduct after previously finishing second in the Futurity Stakes (gr. II).
The post positions for the Withers Stakes are as follows:
Withers Stakes (gr. III)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1 Donegal Moon, Aaron Gryder, Todd Pletcher
2 Flexibility, Irad Ortiz Jr., Chad Brown
3 Cards of Stone, Eric Cancel, H. J. Bond
4 King Kranz, Cornelio Velasquez, John Terranova II
5 Vorticity, Jose Ortiz, J. Lawrence II
6 Adventist, Kendrick Carmouche, Leah Gyarmati
7 Sunny Ridge, Manuel Franco, Jason Servis
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to sign up for email newsletters and special offers from The Turf Board! Also, if you’re a fan of horse racing history, please check out my upcoming book Lost to the Ages: 10 Forgotten Champions of U.S. Horse Racing, scheduled for release later this year!