Meet the Contenders: 2024 Withers Stakes

February 1st, 2024

Meet the horses running in the 2024 Withers S. (G3) at Aqueduct. For each horse, we're listing a pro, a con, and a rating of potential. The star rating of 1 to 5 represents opportunity to perform well. Be sure to follow these contenders by adding them to your Stable Alerts.

Speed Runner breaking his maiden at Aqueduct (Photo by Coglianese Photos)

Speed Runner breaking his maiden at Aqueduct (Photo by Coglianese Photos)

#1 Speed Runner                    ****

Pro: Broke his maiden over the track and 1 1/8-mile distance of the Withers. Trainer Todd Pletcher has won this race twice since 2013.

Con: His career-best 85 Brisnet Speed rating is a little light.


Aqueduct (Photo by Coglianese Photography)

Aqueduct (Photo by Coglianese Photography)

#2 Deposition                    *

Pro: Handled a two-turn configuration when dominating a one-mile and 70-yard maiden special weight at Parx Racing by 4 1/4 lengths.

Con: He’s finished out of the top three in both of his stakes starts.

Lightline wins at Horshoe Indiana (Photo by Coady Photography)

#3 Lightline                    *****

Pro: Exits a pair of runner-up finishes against tough allowance optional claiming competition at Keeneland and Oaklawn Park.

Con: Needs at least a small step forward from a Brisnet Speed rating perspective.

El Grande O (Photo by Coglianese Photography/Credited to Chelsea Durand)

#4 El Grande O                    ****

Pro: Two-time stakes winner owns the three highest Brisnet Speed ratings in the Withers field.

Con: A weakening runner-up finish in the one-mile Jerome S. at Aqueduct suggests racing 1 1/8 miles around two turns may stretch the limits of his stamina.

Seminole Chief (Photo by Coglianese Photography)

#5 Seminole Chief                    ***

Pro: Pressed a quick pace on his way to a gritty victory in the FTBOA Florida Sire In Reality S. against Florida-breds at Gulfstream Park.

Con: He’s facing tougher competition while stepping outside the Florida-bred ranks.

Aqueduct (Photo by Coglianese Photos)

#6 Society Man                    **

Pro: Stoutly bred colt closed ground to finish third in a 1 1/8-mile maiden special weight at Aqueduct.

Con: Has yet to win a race.

Mission Beach wins at Del Mar (Photo by Benoit Photography)

#7 Mission Beach                    ***

Pro: Rallied to win an allowance optional claimer sprinting six furlongs at Laurel Park and has the pedigree to shine over 1 1/8 miles.

Con: Finished fifth and fourth in his first two graded stakes starts.

Uncle Heavy wins at Parx Racing (Photo by Equi-Photo / Credit to Bill Denver)

#8 Uncle Heavy                    **

Pro: Overcame a slow start to rally and win the one-mile and 70-yard Wait For It S. against Pennsylvania breds at Parx Racing.

Con: The competition will be tougher outside the Pennsylvania-bred ranks.

Khanate wis at Keeneland (Photo by Coady Photography)

#9 Khanate                    *

Pro: Exits a third-place finish in Aqueduct’s Jerome on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

Con: Finished 7 1/2 lengths behind El Grande O in the Jerome and needs improvement to turn the tables.