Flexibility Faces Six in Withers Stakes

Flexibility Faces Six in Withers Stakes

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.

Vorticity, who set the pace in the Jerome and stayed on well to finish a clear-cut second, will be back to try and turn the tables on Flexibility. Donegal Moon, who finished fifth in the Remsen before stumbling and losing his rider at the start of the Jerome, will also face Flexibility again.

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

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Follow J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman"):

J. Keeler Johnson is a writer, blogger, videographer, and all-around horse racing enthusiast who was drawn to the sport by Curlin's quest to become North America's richest racehorse. A great fan of racing history, he considers Dr. Fager to be the greatest racehorse ever produced in America, but counts Zenyatta as his all-time favorite. He lives in Wisconsin and also writes for the Bloodhorse.com blog Unlocking Winners.

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