Revolutionary firmly on Derby trail

WITHERS S. | PURSE: $200,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS | GRADE 3 | 1 1/16-MILES

What WinStar Farm's Revolutionary lacks in seasoning he made up for in heart at Aqueduct Racetrack Feb. 2, closing late with a tremendously game effort to win the $200,000 Withers Stakes by a neck.

Last at the head of the stretch and stuck down on the rail under jockey Javier Castellano, the 3-year-old son of War Pass charged from the sixteenth pole to the wire, splitting horses bravely to get up over Escapefromreality in the shadow of the line.

The 1 1/16-mile dirt score over seven other runners gave Revolutionary 10 points on the road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and a tremendous amount of experience in what proved to be an adventurous edition of the 3-year-old prep. It was the colt's second win in five starts for trainer Todd Pletcher; he came off an 8 1/2-length maiden victory going a mile on the inner track Dec. 28.

Breaking from post 2, Revolutionary was far back after an eventful start in which the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Valid went to his knees from post 1A and nearly unseated jockey Junior Alvarado, who amazingly managed to stay aboard. Alvarado regained the irons after the first few strides and Revolutionary maintained his composure in spite of the distraction.

Escapefromreality stepped up to the early lead but quickly rescinded to Siete de Oros, who set the pace of :24.22 and :48.18 under pressure from Smooth Bert, with Long River and Amerigo Vespucci in close pursuit. Revolutionary rated last under a tight hold behind three-quarters in 1:12.49, with Castellano searching for running room along the rail as Smooth Bert poked a head in front of Siete De Oros around the turn to form a four-horse line across the track with Long River and Amerigo Vespucci, both making their moves as well.

Escapefromreality closed from fifth to take the lead over Siete de Oros, but Revolutionary kicked in with a sharp burst from the sixteenth pole and split horses to get the win in a final time of 1:44.32 in spite of repeatedly changing leads down the stretch.

The 3-5 favorite, Revolutionary returned $3.50, $3, and $2.10 while Escapefromreality brought $10.20 and $7. Siete de Oros paid $5.10. Amerigo Vespucci, Champion Boy, Smooth Bert, Valid, and Long River completed the order of finish.

Bred in Kentucky by W.S. Farish out of the grade I-winning A.P. Indy mare Runup the Colors, Revolutionary improved his record to 2-1-2 from five starts, with earnings of $188,500. He was a $235,000 purchase by WinStar Farm from the Ocala Breeders Sales Co.'s 2012 select sale of 2-year-olds in training after being pinhooked for $80,000 from the 2011 Keeneland Association September yearling sale by Valera Stable.