The New York State road to the 2023 Kentucky Derby moves on this Saturday, with the 143rd edition of the $250,000 Grade 3 Withers Stakes.
Named after prominent 19th-century owner David Withers, the race was held for the first time in 1874 at Jerome Park.
It has been held at several different tracks, but has been run at Aqueduct Park since 1997.
Historically held in the spring, the Withers was moved to early February in 2012 to serve as a prep for the Derby.
It was lengthened from its historic one-mile distance to 1 1/16 miles that year, and was stretched further to 1 ⅛ miles in 2018.
Eddie Arcaro holds the record for most Wins by a jockey (6) while Jim Fitzsimmons takes it for trainer at (6) Wins.
In last years contest EARLY VOTING made his stakes debut for trainer Chad Brown. He was coming off his Maiden Win in December, and in the Withers he simply ran the field off their feet Winning easily by 4.5 lengths, picking up ten points on The Road To The Kentucky Derby.
Apparently the connections of EARLY VOTING were not susceptible to Derby Fever, eschewing the first jewel of the Triple Crown in favor of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.
Seth Klarman, (Klaravich Stables) owner of EARLY VOTING, grew up in Baltimore just a few miles from the track and had Won the Preakness in 2017 with CLOUD COMPUTING.
The decision to point for the Preakness was a wise one as EARLY VOTING (5-1) tracked pacesetter ARMAGNAC early on, seized command at the top of the stretch, and then safely held off Kentucky Derby runner-up EPICENTER to prevail in the $1.65-million dollar, middle jewel of the Triple Crown.