Handal Eyeing Withers With Sharp Maiden Winner Constitutionlawyer by NYRA Press Office|01.09.202202.03.2022|8:42pm8:52pm Trainer Raymond Handal Perrine Time Thoroughbreds and West Paces Racing's Constitutionlawyer impressed trainer Ray Handal enough in his last out maiden victory to make the jump to graded stakes level for the Grade 3, $250,000 Withers on Feb. 5 at Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park, N.Y. The nine-furlong Withers is a qualifying race for the 2022 Kentucky Derby, offering 10-4-2-1 points to the top-four finishers. The son of 2021 leading third-crop sire Constitution displayed different dynamics when graduating at third asking on Jan. 2 at the Big A, adding Lasix and leading gate-to-wire to win by 3 1/2 lengths while registering an 85 Beyer. “He got a big figure the other day. We're just hopeful that it wasn't just the Lasix,” Handal said. “He ran a monster race and he's a real stayer. That's the one benefit about him. From start to finish he has a high cruising speed.” Handal noted that Constitutionlawyer showed improvement at the gate in his maiden victory. In his previous two starts, he was placed toward the rear of the field early on and closed late to finish a respective fourth and third to next-out stakes-winners Mo Donegal in October and Courvoisier in December. “He broke a lot better. In his first two starts, he broke with the pack and then he'd check himself out of it and get a little tardy,” Handal said. “Four days before this last race, I popped him out of the gate just to make sure he was sharp and could do what he needed to do. He broke super on race day, and he was able to do whatever Dylan [Davis] needed for him to do that day.” Constitutionlawyer, a $170,000 purchase from the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, is out of the Lawyer Ron mare Lawyer Brockmeyer.