El Areeb romps to Withers triumph

by | Feb 4, 2017 | Breaking, National news, Racing, Triple Crown Trail

El Areeb was much the best in winning Saturday’s Withers Stakes. Photo by Robert Mauhar.

by Frank Vespe

Easy as 1-2-3.

That’s what today’s Grade 3 Withers Stakes was for El Areeb, and in the process, the sophomore Exchange Rate colt delivered his third consecutive stakes victory, second straight in graded company.  El Areeb now has 20 points towards entry in the Kentucky Derby.

The Laurel Park-based El Areeb, trained by Cal Lynch, now has four wins from six career starts, with earnings of $334,200.  After breaking his maiden in his third career start, El Areeb has, in succession, won a maiden race, the $100,000 James F. Lewis, III Stakes at Laurel Park, the Grade 3 Jerome at Aqueduct, and the Grade 3 Withers.

Today, under regular pilot Trevor McCarthy, El Areeb broke alertly to attain a prime stalking position in third.  He tracked the leaders — longshots True Timber (29-1) and Jaime’s Angel (78-1) — a length of two behind while perched three wide to their outside.  The former led the field through moderate fractions of 49.31 seconds for the half-mile and 1:14.06 for three-quarters.

McCarthy gave El Areeb his cue to go near the quarter pole, and El Areeb responded willingly.  He took control leaving the three-sixteenths and went on to win by a solid 4 1/4 lengths under a vigorous hand ride.  True Timber held second, while J Boys Echo rallied into third.

Maryland-bred Bonus Points, a Majestic Warrior colt bred by Country Life Farm, was along for fourth.

El Areeb paid a paltry $3.10 to win as the 1-2 favorite.  The exacta was good for $37.

El Areeb is owned by M M G Stables, LLC, which purchased him for $340,000 from the 2016 Ocala Breeders’ Sales March Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training.  Bred in Kentucky, he is out of the winning A.P. Indy mare Feathered Diamond.

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