NEW YORK (AP) — Revolutionary, last at the top of the stretch, split rivals in the final strides to beat Escapefromreality by a neck on Saturday in the $200,000 Withers Stakes for 3-year-olds at Aqueduct.
The victory gave Revolutionary 10 qualifying points toward the Kentucky Derby. He became another Triple Crown contender in the Todd Pletcher barn, a deep contingent that includes last year’s juvenile champion Shanghai Bobby, Violence, Verrazano and Overanalyze.
The Withers was an impressive performance by a colt making his stakes debut only one race after his initial victory. Taken well off the pace by jockey Javier Castellano, Revolutionary threaded through traffic in the lane for his second victory in five starts. The time was 1:44.32 for the 1 1-16 miles over the fast track.
Elliott Walden, president of WinStar Farms that owns Revolutionary, said the horse will return to Florida to continue training and will likely have only one more prep race before the Derby.
“This race was worth three in terms of education,” Elliott said.
The Withers capped a big day at Aqueduct for Castellano who took three stakes among his four winners, and for Pletcher who notched three wins, including a pair of stakes.
Revolutionary, the 3-5 favorite, paid $3.50, $3 and $2.10. The New York-bred Escapefromreality almost pulled off the upset, returning $10.20 and $7.
Siete de Oros paid $5.10 to show.
In the earlier stakes, Cornelio Velasquez guided Head Heart Hoof to a half-length win over Johannesburg Smile in the $150,000 Toboggan Stakes, paying $6.10 to win.
The other two stakes belonged to Castellano.
He teamed with Pletcher to take the $98,000 Busher for 3-year-old fillies with Princess of Sylmar, a seven-length winner who paid $2.50 to win as the 1-5 favorite.
Castellano’s third stakes triumph was another close call like the Withers as Cluster of Stars beat Nichole H by a head in the $95,000 Correction for fillies and mares, paying $5.40 to win.