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Withers Stakes: If You’re Playing to Win, Go With Top Pick Hit Show

Written by: Brian Zipse
Updated February 2, 2023
12 min read

Withers Stakes Odds and Post Position

Check out our predictions and odds for the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct!









A Adorno

R Reid Jr




E Cancel

J Ferraro




J Lezcano

L Rice




K Carmouche

K Breen




M Franco

B Cox




J Gomez

J Chapman

*Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.

Withers Stakes Predictions and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($50 in total)

$50 Exacta - Hit Show over Arctic Arrogance = $50

Top pick: Hit Show (8/5)



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Withers Stakes Odds

Twice a game second in open stakes races, New York homebred Arctic Arrogance will take his third shot at it when he headlines a field of six Kentucky Derby hopefuls in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes on Saturday at Aqueduct. 

Trained by Linda Rice, the son of Frosted will be making his third consecutive appearance in a Kentucky Derby trail race at Aqueduct after narrow losses in the Grade 2 Remsen in December and the Jerome Stakes four weeks ago. 

Never worse than second in five career stakes, Arctic Arrogance scored his only stakes win to date three starts back when he romped home against fellow state-breds in the Sleepy Hollow at Aqueduct.

Chief among his competition in the $250,000, 9-furlong affair will be the Brad Cox-trained Hit Show.

A son of Candy Ride, he comes into the Withers with two wins in his first three career starts. A big debut win at Keeneland was followed by a disappointing fourth-place effort in a strong allowance race at Churchill Downs. 

He rebounded nicely, though, last time with a strong off the pace victory at Oaklawn Park going a flat mile. Saturday will mark his stakes debut. 

As a Kentucky Derby trail race, the Withers will offer qualifying points for the first Saturday in May on a scale of 20-8-6-4-2 to the first five finishers.

Withers Stakes Predictions and Race Analysis

Arctic Arrogance

The horse to beat, this son of Frosted will be making his fifth consecutive stakes appearance in New York. He has only won one of the first four for trainer Linda Rice, but he was second in the other three. 

Both of his career victories to date have come against fellow New York-breds, but he has proven in his last two that he belongs against open level stakes horses. He’ll get blinkers on for Saturday, and should once again be a big part of the early pace. 

That speed is always dangerous, but there are quite a bit of other early pace types in here, which could soften him up down the stretch. Still, he is a huge threat to earn his first graded stakes win. 

Hit Show

Scratched out of last Saturday’s Grade 3 Southwest at Oaklawn Park to run here, this gray son of Candy Ride should benefit by being one of only two horses in the race that like to come from off the pace. 

After an impressive debut performance at Keeneland, in which he overcame traffic and rallied to win going away, he came up a little short in his second career start, but that was a sneaky good allowance field at Churchill Downs. 

Improving for his third start, he easily returned to his winning ways while going two-turns at Oaklawn Park. Continuing to work well, I see further improvement for him and he should get a nice trip with all the early speed in here. He is the top pick.


This shipper from Parx comes north from the strong barn of Butch Reid, Jr. Breaking from the rail, we should expect him to show good early speed, as he has done in each of his first five races. 

A winner of his first three races, he earned his lone stakes win four starts back while sprinting against fellow Pennsylvania-breds. His winning streak ended two starts back in the Pennsylvania Nursery, and then he was defeated again last time in the Parx Juvenile. 

Both efforts were solid though, so his form remains good. Never having been farther than seven furlongs, though, is a concern, as he faces horses who have already run well at two turns. I think he is more likely a pace presence than a big threat to the top two.

General Banker

This experienced New York-bred son of Central Banker has won only once in nine career starts. The good news is that the win came in a stakes race only two starts back. 

Off that big win against state-breds, he attempted open company last time and was able to check in a respectable third in the Jerome. Having said that, he was not close to Arctic Arrogance in that one. 

He joins Hit Show as one of only two in the field who like to rally, but I am not convinced that his late run will be as strong at a distance of nine furlongs. Certainly a threat to hit the board, I do not like him nearly as much as the two favorites.  

Andiamo a Firenze

Another New York-bred and another horse who does his best running on the early lead. He is a stakes winner, but that came sprinting and against state-breds. 

In his three tries in open company stakes races, he could manage no better than third and that came at six furlongs. Last time in the Jerome, he could never get to the lead and showed little interest in the stretch. 

He is likely to show more speed this time, but once again, he looks likely to fade out of it down the lane.

Prove Right

This son of Justify has already run 11 times in his first eight months on the racetrack. He has won twice in all those tries and both of them came while running only 5 1/2-furlongs. 

In his only previous race against Arctic Arrogance, he was beaten by more than 30 lengths. In fairness, that did come on a sloppy track, but his first five stakes attempts leave plenty to be desired. 

He is another one who likes to be out there on the early lead, which seems to be a bad recipe for success against this field and at this distance.



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How to Watch the Withers Stakes

  • What: Withers Stakes (Grade 3)
  • Location: Aqueduct
  • Time: Saturday, February 4 -- 3:44 pm Eastern time
  • How to Watch: Fox Sports
  • Purse: $250,000

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Image for Brian Zipse


Brian Zipse

287 Articles

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

Email: [email protected]

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