Early Voting Never Challenged In Aqueduct's Withers - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Early Voting Never Challenged In Aqueduct’s Withers

Early Voting wins the Withers at Aqueduct before a runner-up finish there in the Wood Memorial, his springboard to victory in the Preakness

Seth Klarman's Early Voting delivered as the 6-5 post-time favorite in Saturday's Grade 3 Withers Stakes, leading the field from gate-to-wire to hit the Aqueduct finish line 4 1/2 lengths clear of his nearest rival. In just his second career start, the 3-year-old son of Gun Runner earned 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Trained by Chad Brown and ridden to victory by Jose Ortiz, Early Voting ran nine furlongs over the muddy main track in 1:55.90.

“The plan was to sit second behind the one-horse [No. 1, Constitutionlawyer], but he broke sharply and I wasn't taking that away from him,” Ortiz said. “He finished well on a tiring track. One step at a time, but we're going the right way.”

Un Ojo closed from the back of the field to finish second at 28-1, earning 4 points, while Gilded Age (6-1) held third to earn 2 points. Grantham checked in fourth to earn the final point toward the Run for the Roses.

Debuting over a mile at Aqueduct on Dec. 18, Early Voting contested the early pace and drew away under steady urging in the stretch to win by 1 1/2 lengths. This time, Ortiz sent Early Voting a bit quicker out of the gate to take the lead around the clubhouse turn, and allowed the colt to pull away for a 1 1/2-length advantage down the backstretch.

After early splits of :23.57 and :48.04, Early Voting pulled away from the field by three lengths, then by as many as six at the head of the lane. Ortiz kept the colt to task down the stretch, and Early Voting crossed the wire much the best. Un Ojo rallied from well off the pace to be second, while Gilded Age made a big move on the outside around the far turn and was just out-finished for the place. Grantham was forwardly-placed throughout and managed to hold fourth.

Bred in Kentucky by Three Chimneys Farm, Early Voting is the third foal out of the unraced Tiznow mare Amour d'Ete. His dam is a half-sibling to millionaires Speightstown and Irap. A $200,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September sale, Early Voting now boasts earnings of over $190,000.

“He showed some speed in his first race, so we were pretty confident that he would stretch out even further to a mile and an eighth,” said Brown's assistant Dan Stupp. “He broke well and Jose [Ortiz] did the rest from there. I was confident in the mile and an eighth. He's out of a Tiznow mare, so he's bred to run all day. We were very confident in the distance.

“He's a horse that's going to progress with each race. Each race is going to propel him, and we've seen that in the morning with him. He was very impressive in his works. Especially, in his last two works leading up to this. He's an exciting horse and I was really ready to see him run today. I think he'll move forward nicely in his 3-year-old year.

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