Samraat slight favorite in Withers

The Sports NetworkJanuary 27, 2014 

Ozone Park, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Undefeated 3-year-old Samraat has been installed as the 7-5 favorite for Saturday's $250,000 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct. The 1 1/6-mile stakes is a prep for Aqueduct's $1 million Wood Memorial on April 5,

Trained by Richard Violette, Samraat will start from post 5 in the six-horse field with Jose Ortiz again riding. Ortiz has guided the colt in all three previous starts, including the Damon Runyon Stakes at Aqueduct on Dec. 18.

Samraat, owned by My Meadowview Farm, posted a 16 3/4-length victory in the mile, 70 yard Damon Runyon. The colt has earned $133,200 from his three wins.

"I think he has been faster (than his opponents)," said Violette. "He's obviously pretty quick, and showed it when he went to the lead from the inside in a sprint (in his debut). If others want to be more aggressive, he can let them do that."

The 9-5 second choice is Uncle Sigh. Owned by Wounded Warrior Stables, the colt will be ridden by Pablo Morales from the inside post.

Trained by Gary Contessa, Uncle Sigh lost by a head in his debut race on Dec. 7, but won by 14 lengths on Dec. 27 at Aqueduct.

"I think you'd be hard pressed to find a horse who broke his maiden so impressively," said Contessa. "His first two weren't just visually impressive, but the numbers back it up. This is the logical next spot. You're not going to find many multiple winners in the race, and most will be eligible for (an entry-level) allowance."

Uncle Sigh has banked $51,000 from his two career efforts.

Trainer and co-owner Lisa Guerrero has 5-1 third pick Classic Giacnroll ready for the Withers. The colt will break from post 4 with veteran jockey Cornelio Velasquez in the saddle for the first time.

Classic Giacnroll is coming off a second in the Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct four weeks ago. Sent off at 7-2, the colt finished two lengths behind Noble Moon in his 2014 debut. The son of Giacomo has earned $118,100 in six starts.

Here is the field for the Withers in post position order: Uncle Sigh, Pablo Morales, 9-5; Street Gent, Irad Ortiz Jr., 12-1; Scotland, Kendrick Carmouche, 8-1; Classic Giacnroll, Cornelio Velasquez, 5-1; Samraat, Jose Ortiz, 7-5 and Honorable Judge, John Bisono, 15-1.

Post-time for the Withers will be approximately 4:20 p.m. (ET).

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