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OZONE PARK, NY – Klaravich Stables’ Risk Taking rallied from off the pace to take Saturday’s $250,000 Withers Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct.
Risk Taking was the 9/5 favorite as he broke from post 5 under Eric Cancel and tracked from sixth in the field of nine 3-year-old males.
The 3/1 second choice Capo Kane posted opening fractions of :24.02, :48.71, and 1:13.17 but appeared to grow leg-weary as he straightened for home.
Sent out wide in the far turn, Risk Taking advanced past rivals and took aim at Capo Kane, ranging up to challenge for the lead midway home.
Capo Kane drifted out and forced Risk Taking to adjust accordingly, but the Chad Brown trainee proved too tough, drawing off to win the 1 1/8-mile fast dirt route by 3 3/4 lengths in 1:51.91.
“I thought they’d go a little quicker (up front), but the instructions were to sit patient on him and just give him a really confident ride,” Cancel said. “It worked out very well. Turning for home, I knew I had a lot of horse, it was just a matter of having to ask him, and once I did and he started going, I was very confident. I never had any doubt he was going to win the race as soon as we turned for home.”
Overtook was able to grind his way up from last to take second by 1 1/4 lengths over Capo Kane, who was well clear of the rest of the field for third.
Royal Number, Eagle Orb, Civil War, Donegal Bay, Shackqueenking, and a wrapped-up Mr. Doda completed the order of finish.
The Withers is part of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Risk Taking earned 10 points for the win, with overtook receiving 4 for second, Capo Kane 2 for third, and Royal Number 1 for fourth.
Risk Taking’s win backed up an impressive maiden-breaking effort over this course and distance on December 13 and improved the Medaglia d’Oro colt’s overall record to 4-2-0-0 with $182,530 earned.
“We’ll nominate him to everything, but my first reaction would be not to take him out of New York,” Brown said regarding Risk Taking’s next start. “He’s thriving there right now, so leave it be. I would not cut the horse back in distance from here to the Derby under any circumstances. The most logical spot would be to train him up to the Wood (Memorial [G2], held over this course and distance on April 3), but I won’t make that decision until we observe the horse and I have a chance to go over it with the owner.”
Risk Taking returned $5.80 to win, $3.90 to place, and $2.70 to show. Overtook brought back $7 to place and $4.60 to show, while Capo Kane paid $3.40 to show.
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