The Withers Stakes at nine furlongs is the second leg of the grand slam of Triple Crown preps with the Gotham and Wood Memorial still to come later this spring. Firenze Fire the winner of the Jerome and Coltandmississippi come back at 9 furlongs.
Marconi showed a couple of moves in a maiden special weight win in the most recent start. Career start number three and three races at nine furlongs. He seems to have a long fuse and engine to run long. Showed a middle move in the maiden win after grinding out a slow second in first career start. Has a chance to win if others can’t get the distance. Half brother to Mucho Macho Man who was a massive horse and did his best running as a four-year-old.
Avery Island the Remsen was a better than looked effort as he got shuffled back and was hemmed inside at two critical points of that race. The Withers features a small field, and he has been training forwardly down in Florida for this event. Has a lanky, route look to him and expect him to show speed, slow down the pace and then try to open up on the turn.
Firenze Fire won the Jerome with a slow time on a slow track. The effort was solid while running wide and gutting out the victory over a hard surface. Breeders Cup race is a toss as he was under the weather going into that race. Champagne was able to get cover, tilt out and make the final run in a race that fell apart late. He looks like a late-running spring and not sure how much further he wants to go. Has a class edge. The Jerome was a hard effort on a hard surface and not sure he can bounce back with another top energy race, and it will take that to defeat Marconi and Avery Island.
Firenze Fire – 5/2
Avery Island – 8/5
Marconi – 3/1
Avery Island should sit a perfect trip in this spot. He should get first run on Marconi, and Firenze Fire seems distanced challenged and is coming back quickly off a hard race. Avery Island at 8/5 or higher.