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El Areeb Racing News
El Areeb propelled himself into the leading division of Kentucky Derby contenders with easy victories in the early New York Derby prep races.
After missing out in his first two starts, El Areeb won four in a row. Transferred to the Aqueduct prep races by his Maryland trainer Cathal Lynch after winning the James F. Lewis Stakes, El Areeb won the Jerome Stakes (G3) by 11-1/4 lengths, and the Withers Stakes (G3) by 4-1/4 lengths.
However, he faded to third in the Gotham Stakes (G3), getting into a speed duel before finishing 11 lengths behind J Boys Echo, a horse he beat easily in the Withers Stakes over the same 1-1/16 mile distance. It is unclear where he will race next.
Bred by Dixiana Farms LLC, El Areeb was a $340,000 purchase at the 2016 OBS March 2-year-old sale by M M G Stables. He is by Exchange Rate, whose progeny have generally been sprinter-milers, out of the A.P. Indy mare Feathered Diamond. She is a half-sister to the Canadian black type winning 2-year-old Dixieland Diamond, and further back the pedigree contains high-class Canadian gallopers such as Ruling Angel, Tilt My Halo, and Regal Intention.
Given his sire, there will be some doubts about El Areeb’s ability to stay 1-1/4 miles in the Kentucky Derby. But he has shown an ability to stay 1-1/16 miles, and his Gotham Stakes run is probably best forgotten.
El Areeb was a 20-1 chance when Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager closed Feb. 26, prior to the Gotham Stakes. Provided he can return to his previous form, he deserves plenty of respect from punters.