Withers Stakes

Withers Stakes Race Facts

  • Location: Aqueduct Racetrack, Jamaica, NY
  • Inaugural Race: 2001
  • Distance: 1 1/8 miles
  • Track Type: Left-handed, Dirt
  • Age Qualifications: Three-year-olds
  • Status: Grade 3
  • 2024 Purse: $250,000
  • 2024 Race Date: Saturday, February 3rd

Run at Aqueduct Racecourse in New York, the Withers Stakes traditionally runs in February as an early year member of the Road to the Kentucky Derby. The race provides a point spread of 20-10-6-4-2 to the top finishing five horses.

2024 Withers Stakes Race Results

Uncle Heavy
Mychel J. Sanchez / Robert E. Reid, Jr.
$20.60 / $7.40 / $4.00
El Grande O
Kendrick Carmouche / Linda Rice
$4.90 / $3.10
Manuel Franco / Brad H. Cox
Dexter Haddock / Uriah St. Lewis
Eric Cancel / Todd A. Pletcher
Speed Runner
Jose Lezcano / Todd A. Pletcher
Mission Beach
Dylan Davis / Brittany T. Russell
Society Man
Isaac Castillo / Danny Gargan
Seminole Chief
Trevor McCarthy / Jack Sisterson

Exotic Payoffs:

  • $1 Exacta (8-4) Paid: $46.25
  • $0.50 Trifecta (8-4-3) Paid: $73.87
  • $0.10 Superfecta (8-4-3-2) Paid: $271.15

Watch the 2024 Withers Stakes

The History of the Withers Stakes

The Withers Stakes has a storied history dating back to 1874 when it was run at Jerome Park. The race has been run at a number of different New York tracks including Belmont Park from 1984-1996 and three years in the 1950’s. The Withers is currently held on Aqueduct’s inner track in Queens, NY and it is a Grade III event for 3-year-olds with a purse of $250,000. The race is in early February and is a ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ prep race with the top five finishers earning Derby qualifying points (20-10-6-4-2). The Withers also serves as a prep race for the Wood Memorial in April at Aqueduct.

The Withers was historically run at a distance of 1 mile, and the race record was 1:32.40 by Williamstown (1993). The Withers distance was lengthened to 1 1/16 miles in 2012, and Far From Over (2015) holds that distance record at that length at 1:43.93. In 2019, the race was shortened to 1 1/8 miles, and that same year Tax set the speed record at that length by turning in a time of 1:50.27.

Notable horses have won the Withers throughout history, including Triple Crown winners Sir Barton (1919) and Count Fleet (1943). Sir Barton became the first winner of what would be known as the American Triple Crown. Man O’ War (1920) won 20-of-21 races including the Preakness and Belmont Stakes but skipped the Kentucky Derby. Native Dancer (1953) won 21-of-22 lifetime races with his lone loss in the Kentucky Derby. Additionally, 2006 winner Bernardini went on to win the Preakness Stakes that year.

The Withers was not run in 1911 or 1912 when the New York State legislated a ban on all forms of wagering on horses. Since Aqueduct’s opening in the mid 1970’s, the only horse hardy enough to race in the colder weather over the inner track and then go on to win the Kentucky Derby was 2004 Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones.

Withers Stakes Past Winners

Jockey / Trainer
Dist. (Miles) / Time
Uncle Heavy
Mychel J. Sanchez / Robert E. Reid, Jr.
1​1⁄8 M / 1:53.79
Hit Show
Manuel Franco / Brad H. Cox
1​1⁄8 M / 1:54.71
Early Voting
Jose L. Ortiz / Chad C. Brown
1​1⁄8 M / 1:55.90
Risk Taking
Eric Cancel / Chad C. Brown
1​1⁄8 M / 1:51.91
Max Player
Dylan Davis / Linda Rice
1​1⁄8 M / 1:53.87
Junior Alvarado / Danny Gargan
1​1⁄8 M / 1:50.27
Avery Island
Joe Bravo / Kiaran McLaughlin
1​1⁄8 M / 1:51.01
El Areeb
Trevor McCarthy / Cathal Lynch
1​1⁄16 M / 1:44.47
Sunny Ridge
Manuel Franco / Jason Servis
1​1⁄16 M / 1:46.99
Far From Over
Manuel Franco / Todd Pletcher
1​1⁄16 M / 1:43.93