A beaten favorite in his first three outings, including twice as an odds-on choice, Revolutionary finally put it all together as an even-money favorite in a December 28 maiden at Aqueduct. He did it emphatically, too, scoring by 8 1/2 lengths over next-out winner Transparent. Off that commanding performance, the Todd Pletcher-trained colt might go favored in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Withers, a 1 1/16-mile test over the Big A's inner track.
"(The improved performance) was a combination of a lot of things, the stretch out the, two turns, the clean start, a good trip," Pletcher said. "We weren't surprised he did something impressive, and it was the first time everything had gone smoothly. He didn't have a bad trip when he was second at Belmont, but I thought the track that day was very speed favoring and it was hard to make up ground. A talented horse got loose and we just couldn't run him down, and he had a horrible start in the one-turn race at Aqueduct."
A son of juvenile champion War Pass, the WinStar Farm-owned Revolutionary has always been one of the more intriguing pedigree prospects of this classic crop. His dam, Grade 1 Alabama winner Runup the Colors, is a half-sister to Broodmare of the Year Prospectors Delite, who reared Horse of the Year Mineshaft and multiple Grade 1 winner Tomisue's Delight, among others.
The Withers, which highlights a four-stakes program Saturday, is the second in a series of four classic preps at Aqueduct this winter and spring. The first was the Grade 2 Jerome on January 5, which has yielded other Withers contenders Siete de Oros, Amerigo Vespucci, and Long River. The trio occupied the second, third, and fourth slots, respectively, in that test, with Siete de Oros missing narrowly by a head to Vyjack as a 41-1 longshot.
"He ran a really good race. Blinkers made a big change with him; he was concentrating more," owner-trainer Ramon Preciado said of Siete de Oros. "After the race, he was even better than he came in."
Amerigo Vespucci, twice stakes-placed at Laurel prior to the Jerome, flattened out a bit in the stretch and will be equipped with blinkers for the first time Saturday. Long River, who forms a Darley Stable-owned entry with last-out maiden winner Valid, will race with Lasix for the first time in the Withers.
The field is rounded out by two New York-breds facing open company for the first time -- stakes winner Smooth Bert and maiden winner Escapefromreality -- and the maiden Champion Boy, who makes only his second career start in a difficult spot.