Sharp Maiden Winner Early Voting Gearing Up For Stakes Debut In Withers - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Sharp Maiden Winner Early Voting Gearing Up For Stakes Debut In Withers

Klaravich Stables' highly-regarded Early Voting took another step forward on Sunday morning when logging a half-mile work over the Belmont training track in preparation for the Grade 3, $250,000 Withers on Feb. 5 at Aqueduct in Ozone Park, N.Y.

The Chad Brown-trained son of 2021 leading freshman stallion Gun Runner completed the four-furlong move in 49.41 over a fast main track with jockey Jose Ortiz aboard. The breeze was his third work following a career debut maiden victory on Dec. 18.

“He worked really well this morning. Jose was aboard and I was very happy with the work,” said Brown's Belmont-based assistant Dan Stupp.

Breaking his maiden at a one-turn mile, Early Voting stayed in the clear down the backstretch under Ortiz while battling with two other runners up front. He fended off a late rally from Matt Doyle to win by 1 1/2 length, registering a 76 Beyer.

Early Voting appears to be taking a similar path to that of stablemate Risk Taking, who captured last year's Withers following a maiden score.

“I thought Risk Taking was a more forward training horse,” Stupp said. “With Early Voting, you can see the ability, but he's a little green acting. He had a lot to learn and grow up, he had some physical maturing to do, but his first race moved him up quite a bit. Mentally, he's still a work in progress but you can definitely see the progression off that maiden win. I'm excited to see him run back.”

Other probable candidates for the nine-furlong Withers, which offers 10-4-2-1 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-four finishers, include Courvoisier, Constitutionlawyer, Cooke Creek, Noneedtoworry, Smarten Up and Un Ojo.

Early Voting, bred in Kentucky by Three Chimneys Farm, is out of the unraced Tiznow mare Amour d'Ete – a half-sister to 2004 Champion Sprinter and prolific sire Speightstown and a full-sister to millionaire Irap. All are out of 1995 Canadian Champion Juvenile Filly Silken Cat. Early Voting was purchased for $200,000 from the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, where he was consigned by Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency.

Also on the work tab Sunday for Brown was Klaravich Stables' Default Protection, who went a half-mile in 50.01 over the Belmont training track. It was the 4-year-old daughter of Quality Road's second work since a second-out maiden victory on January 2 which she won by 12 1/2 lengths.

“I thought the work was great, just a maintenance half. Jose was on for the work, he rode her last time,” Stupp said. “It was a very good work, exactly what you would want to see. I wanted to see her work today and then get with Chad. She ran a great race to break her maiden over a wet track. I thought she got a lot of good experience out of that race, so we weren't surprised she moved forward. By watching her train, she's got potential to step up.”

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