Risk Taking wins the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct

Risk Taking wins the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct

Coglianese Photos/Chelsea Durand

Risk Taking in Good Order After Withers Victory

Medaglia d'Oro colt eyes Wood Memorial (G2); Capo Kane may cut back for Gotham (G3).

Klaravich Stables' Risk Taking was reported to be in good order Feb. 7, the day after the 3-year-old Medaglia d'Oro  colt won the Withers Stakes (G3) by 3 3/4 lengths at Aqueduct Racetrack. He earned 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

"He came out of the race good. He doesn't look too tired so I'm very happy with how he came out of the race," said Dan Stupp, the Belmont Park-based assistant for trainer Chad Brown.

Risk Taking arrived in the Withers off a maiden special weight victory run at the same 1 1/8-mile distance in which he sported blinkers for the first time. Stupp said blinkers and added distance have benefitted Risk Taking, who broke his maiden in his third start following a turf race on debut and a dirt sprint. 

"He's always been a forward training horse in the morning, but the blinkers and the added distance were beneficial," Stupp said. "The blinkers helped him focus a bit more. It really brought out what we saw in the morning. That combination has certainly worked well for him."

Following the Withers, Brown said Risk Taking would likely target the Wood Memorial Stakes Presented by Resorts World Casino (G2) April 3 at the Big A, another nine-furlong race. The Wood Memorial offers qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) on a 100-40-20-10 scale.

Capo Kane Could Cut Back for Gotham
Bing Cherry Racing and Leonard Liberto's Capo Kane came out of his third-place effort in the Withers in good order, trainer Harold Wyner said Sunday morning. The veteran conditioner said the Street Sense  colt could cut back in distance next out in the Gotham Stakes (G3) March 6 at Aqueduct. The Gotham, which offers Derby points on a 50-20-10-5 scale, is a one-turn mile.

"He came out of it good and ate up his dinner last night and seems fine this morning," Wyner said. "The track wasn't speed-favoring, that's for sure, and it caught up to him in the last sixteenth of a mile. We're going to point him towards the Gotham."

The Withers marked Capo Kane's first start at nine furlongs after posting two wins and a runner-up finish between seven furlongs and a mile and 70 yards through his first three starts. He earned two more Derby points in addition to the 10 he earned by winning the Jerome Stakes Jan. 1.

"I just think he's learning every race and has talent and natural speed," Wyner said. "He's just training nicely and moving forward from each race." 

Overtook Proves Two-Turn Talent
The Todd Pletcher-trained Overtook rallied from last of nine to finish second in the Withers, picking up four Derby points.

"He came out of the race in good shape and ate up last night," said Pletcher assistant Byron Hughes. "His energy level looks good walking around, so I was happy with his effort."

Owned by Repole Stable, St. Elias Stable, Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier, and Derrick Smith, Overtook showed a strong closing kick under Manny Franco in the stretch run in pursuit of the victorious Risk Taking.

"That seems to be how he wants to run," Hughes said. "Manny did a good job of getting him to settle down the backside and got a good run at him. He seems to be steadily improving and getting sharper. That was a big jump up from his maiden win. I don't know what the next step is but two turns looks like what he wants to do."