With victories in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) and Jerome (G3), El Kabeir (Scat Daddy) vaulted to the top of the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with a total of 21 points. He’ll try to add 10 more points to his ledger with a victory in Saturday’s $250,000 Withers (G3) at Aqueduct.
Owned by Zayat Stables LLC and trained by John Terranova, El Kabeir rolled to a 10-length victory when breaking his maiden second-time out. The gray colt followed with a fourth in the Champagne (G1) and a second in the Nashua (G2) before earning his first stakes tally in the November 29 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs, leading wire to wire for a head decision.
El Kabeir displayed a different dimension in the January 3 Jerome on Aqueduct’s inner track, rallying wide from just off the pace to win going away by 4 3/4 lengths, and registered a career-best 101 BRIS Speed rating. He’ll be a strong favorite to carry his form forward in this spot. The Florida-bred will break from the far outside post among seven rivals with a returning C.C. Lopez.
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His six challengers are all maiden winners. Classy Class (Discreetly Mine) is one of two with stakes experience, finishing fourth in the Remsen (G2) in his juvenile finale, and the bay colt will be making his third career start for Kiaran McLaughlin. Jerome third-placer General Bellamy (Bellamy Road) is back for another shot against El Kabeir and the dark bay colt will add first-time Lasix for Bill Mott.
Unrivaled (Super Saver) steps up following a 15-length maiden romp at Parx Racing on December 23 and will be joined in the Withers field by fellow last-out maiden scorers March (Blame), Far from Over (Blame) and Tencendur (Warrior’s Reward).
The Withers is accompanied on the nine-race program by the $150,000 Toboggan (G3), a six-furlong test for older horses, and Salutos Amigos (Salute the Sarge) is the horse to beat.
The five-year-old gelding has posted convincing stakes wins in three of his last four outings, the lone setback being a fast-finishing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. He recorded a 110 BRIS Speed rating when capturing the Fall Highweight (G3) two starts back and a 109 when taking the December 26 Gravesend last time out. Irad Ortiz Jr. rides for David Jacobson.
Fall Highweight and Gravesend runner-up Mewannarose (Bwana Charlie) is also entered along with Grade 1 winner Dads Caps (Discreet Cat).