Blinkers, Added Distance Making The Difference For Withers Winner Risk Taking

Klaravich Stables’ Risk Taking earned a career-best 89 Beyer Speed Figure for his triumphant stakes debut in Saturday’s Grade 3, $250,000 Withers at Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park, N.Y.

Trained by Chad Brown, the son of Medaglia d’Oro broke well from post 5 and settled in sixth in between horses before inching his way closer to the front under little asking from Eric Cancel. Nearing the sixteenth pole, Risk Taking confronted and overtook pacesetter Capo Kane en route to a 3 ¾-length win as the post-time favorite. 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, Brown’s Belmont Park-based assistant.

Risk Taking arrived at the Withers off a third-out nine-furlong maiden special weight score where he sported blinkers for the first time to defeat next-out winners The Reds and Unbridled Honor, both of whom also broke their maidens at two turns.

Stupp said blinkers and added distance have benefitted Risk Taking.

“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 Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 3 at the Big A. The nine-furlong Wood Memorial is the final local prep for the Grade 1, Kentucky Derby and awards the top-four finishers qualifying points according to a 100-40-20-10 scale.

Bred in Kentucky by G. Watts Humphrey, Jr., Risk Taking was purchased for $240,000 from the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale and is out of the Distorted Humor mare Run a Risk, who was twice stakes-placed on grass. He comes from the same extended family as Grade 1-winner and champion producing sire Seeking the Gold.

Runner-up Overtook Handles Two Turns
The Todd Pletcher-trained Overtook rallied from last-of-9 to finish second in Saturday’s Grade 3 Withers, earning a career-best 83 Beyer.

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

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.”

Bred in Kentucky by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm and Phillip J. Steinberg, Overtook is by dual Horse of the Year and champion producing sire Curlin and out of the Grade 1-winning A.P. Indy mare Got Lucky, making him a direct descendant of La Troienne. He was purchased for $1 million from the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Capo Kane May Shorten Up Next Out In 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 Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham going a one-turn mile on March 6 at Aqueduct.

The Withers, offering 10-4-2-1 qualifying points to the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, 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.

Under jockey Dylan Davis, Capo Kane led the nine-horse Withers field through the first mile before tiring in the stretch. Capo Kane still pressed on, earning a pair of qualifying points after finishing behind Overtook and winner Risk Taking.

After earning an 81 Beyer for his first start at two turns, Capo Kane will likely be shortened up in the Gotham, which offers 50-20-10-5 qualifying points to the first Saturday in May.

“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.”

Capo Kane ran second on debut in October at Parx going seven furlongs and capped his juvenile year with a maiden-breaking 4 1/2-length score on November 25 at the same track stretched out to a mile and 70 yards.

On New Year’s Day, Capo Kane won his first stakes start – and sophomore bow – in gate-to-wire dominance, besting a five-horse Jerome field by 6 1/4 lengths at one mile. That win, which earned a personal-best 84 Beyer, coupled with Saturday gives Capo Kane 12 total qualifying points; tied for sixth-most on the leaderboard with Jackie’s Warrior.

“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.”

The post Blinkers, Added Distance Making The Difference For Withers Winner Risk Taking appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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