“What WinStar Farm’s Revolutionary lacks in seasoning he made up for in heart at Aqueduct Racetrack Feb. 2, closing late with a tremendously game effort to win the $200,000 Withers Stakes (gr. III) by a neck (VIDEO).
Last at the head of the stretch and stuck down on the rail under jockey Javier Castellano, the 3-year-old son of War Pass charged from the sixteenth pole to the wire, splitting horses bravely to get up over Escapefromreality by a neck in the shadow of the line.
The 1 1/16-mile dirt score over seven other runners gave the 3-5 favorite Revolutionary 10 points on the road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and a tremendous amount of experience in what proved to be an adventurous edition of the 3-year-old prep. It was the colt’s second win in five starts for trainer Todd Pletcher; he came off an 8 1/2-length maiden victory going a mile on the inner track Dec. 28.
Breaking from post 2, Revolutionary was far back after an eventful start in which the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Valid went to his knees from post 2 and nearly unseated jockey Junior Alvarado, who amazingly managed to stay aboard. Alvarado regained the irons after the first few strides and although Revolutionary maintained his composure in spite of the distraction, he was far back heading to the first turn.
“The horse has a tendency to not get away cleanly and got himself a little farther back than we would have liked,” said Pletcher’s assistant trainer, Michael McCarthy. “Things went from bad to worse from there, but Javier didn’t panic and had faith in the horse. We’ve known all along the horse had ability. When you are pointing for the Derby, this is a huge steppingstone. That was a big, big step today against some proven horses.”