Tipsheet: 2024 Withers Stakes

February 1st, 2024

A cast of nine sophomores will travel 1 1/8 miles on the Aqueduct main strip in Saturday’s $250,000 Withers S. (G3). The 2024 Road to the Kentucky Derby challenge series tilt will offer a total of 42 qualifying points (20-10-6-4-2) that will go to the top-five finishers in the event. 

Withers Stakes Picks

  • #3 Lightline
  • #1 Speed Runner
  • #4 El Grande O

Withers Stakes Wagers

Withers Stakes Contenders

#1 SPEED RUNNER: Twice-raced Todd Pletcher trainee was a game graduate at the distance and on the course in his latest endeavor, and the chestnut rates a chance in this one. This son of Gun Runner showed nice improvement with the added ground most recently, and the Whisper Hill homebred has room for further growth, obviously. Jose Lezcano will have the colt saving ground throughout the feature. 

#2 DEPOSITION: Dark bay son of Constitution adds blinkers coming off of an unplaced stakes try at Laurel Park most recently. The Uriah St. Lewis trainee was a smart maiden winner going a route of ground two back, but he would be a surprise on this occasion under Dexter Haddock. 

#3 LIGHTLINE: Top pick from the formidable Brad Cox shedrow was runner-up to a fine prospect in an allowance heat at Oaklawn Park in his latest outing and figures to thrive with more ground with which to work with. The City of Light colt has yet to run a bad one in his three-race career, and the $600,000 yearling purchase seems capable of adapting to any pace scenario in front of him, as well. Manny Franco will guide the selection. 

#4 EL GRANDE O: Talented New York-bred came home a clear second in the Jerome S. on the oval and will be the one to catch in a field lacking an abundance of early foot. This Linda Rice trainee is a dual winner on the surface and might have everything his own way from the break beneath Kendrick Carmouche. 

#5 SEMINOLE CHIEF: Recent Gulfstream stakes victor has improved as the distances have increased and rates an exotics chance in this spot with another step in the right direction. The son of Girvin is 2-for-3 in his career and has ample early speed for Jack Sisterson, so a trip near a moderate tempo seems likely from the start. Trevor McCarthy inherits the ride. 

#6 SOCIETY MAN: Good Magic gelding finished third in a solid try at nine furlongs here second time out and will be running on late as an exotics contender in the cast. The $85,000 yearling purchase exits a lively heat and has trained well in the interim, so if the early ones back up in the lane, then the Kentucky bred could be a factor inside the final furlong under Isaac Castillo. 

#7 MISSION BEACH: Curlin colt was a sharp allowance sprint winner at Laurel Park in his first since arriving in the Brittany Russell barn, and the bay is intriguing in his second appearance for this outfit. The $400,000 yearling purchase had displayed big early speed from a trio of tries to commence his career, and the colt could be involved from the start on Saturday following a bullet morning drill in his latest workout. Dylan Davis will be up. 

#8 UNCLE HEAVY: Butch Reid pupil is 2-for-3 and was a winner in his initial try going long last time out. The Keystone State bred will not need major improvement to challenge for a placing in the contest, and he is one to consider in the vertical exotics with Mychel Sanchez coming in to ride. 

#9 KHANATE: Calumet color bearer was well beaten while third in the Jerome S. on the oval most recently, and he will need to take a major step forward to upset this field from the outside post slot. This Todd Pletcher trainee romped to graduate at Keeneland three back, and the son of Hightail could be a factor with something resembling that showing on Saturday. Eric Cancel will take the reins.