Arctic Arrogance seeks breakout win in G3 Withers
by Mary Eddy
Chester and Mary Broman’s graded stakes-placed New York homebred Arctic Arrogance will make his second attempt at securing a graded triumph in Saturday’s Grade 3, $250,000 Withers, a nine-furlong test for sophomores, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The Withers, a prep race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, will award the top-five finishers 20-8-6-4-2 qualifying points, respectively, towards the prestigious Grade 1 test on May 6 at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Linda Rice, Arctic Arrogance will be making this third appearance in a Kentucky Derby points race at the Big A, looking to break through after valiant runner-up efforts in the nine-furlong Grade 2 Remsen on December 3 and the one-mile Jerome on January 7. He is currently 12th on the leaderboard with eight points.
The son of Frosted displayed his talents on debut with a pacesetting one-length score in a state-bred maiden in September over a muddy and sealed main track at Saratoga Race Course. He followed with a similar frontrunning trip in the Bertram F. Bongard in September at Belmont at the Big A against state-breds, finishing second to upset winner Jackson Heights.
Arctic Arrogance made his open company debut in the Remsen, where he set the pace under returning pilot Jose Lezcano and battled gamely down the lane with Dubyuhnell to come up a half-length shy of victory. He traveled in second position throughout in the next-out Jerome, finishing a half-length back of the frontrunning winner Lugan Knight.
Rice said she is hopeful a return to nine furlongs will benefit the grey colt.
“He ran well in the Remsen as a 2-year-old, so you would think at this point that the mile-and-an-eighth will be good for him,” Rice said.
Arctic Arrogance will sport blinkers for the first time in the Withers after wearing them for his last few morning workouts.
“Lezcano breezed him in them,” said Rice. “We felt with the blinkers, he went on by himself rather than being reluctant to leave other horses. It’s going well.”
Rice had previously indicated that Arctic Arrogance has proven to be a challenge to keep fit into his races, including the Jerome when he missed a scheduled work leading into the race. Rice said fitness is not a concern this time.
“Not this time around,” said Rice, who won the 2020 Withers with Max Player. “We didn’t have any weather and didn’t miss any works.”
Arctic Arrogance will emerge from post 3.
LC Racing’s Pennsylvania homebred Ninetyprcentmaddie [post 1, Abner Adorno] will look to notch his first open-company stakes victory on the heels of a game runner-up effort in the seven-furlong Parx Juvenile on January 3 at its namesake track.
Trained by Butch Reid, Jr., the son of Weigelia broke from the inside post in the field of eight under Paco Lopez and dueled for the early lead before settling in third at the half-mile call. He angled out down the stretch under strong urging from Lopez, but settled for second 2 3/4 lengths in arrears of the victorious Recruiter.
Reid, Jr. said that while the inside post hampered Ninetyprcentmaddie in his last start, he is confident Adorno can secure outside position with added ground.
"I have no doubt it hurt him last time,” said Reid, Jr. “Paco got him back outside and he made a nice second run. I look forward to getting him a chance to settle on the outside and see what happens. Going a mile and an eighth, he should be able to do it very comfortably and he should be on or near the lead."
The Withers will be both the first start beyond sprint distances and outside of Parx for Ninetyprcentmaddie, whose lone stakes victory was a wire-to-wire 3 1/2-length score in the Whistle Pig against fellow Pennsylvania-breds in August.
The bay colt’s breeding suggests he should relish a stretch out, with his full-sister, Ninetypercentbrynn, earning all four of her lifetime victories around two turns for Reid, Jr.
"I think he'll handle it fine,” said Reid, Jr. “His big sister was a natural route horse. He's got a great head on his shoulders and a grinding way of running, so I think he'll handle it well."
Ninetyprcentmaddie made his final preparations for the Withers on Saturday at Parx, covering a half-mile in 49.83 seconds.
“He had a sensational breeze the other day,” said Reid, Jr. “He went 49 and change and did it like breaking sticks. He came out of it real well.”
Mr. Amore Stable’s New York homebred Andiamo a Firenze enters from a distant fifth-place finish in the aforementioned Jerome for trainer Kelly Breen. There, he stalked the pace under Kendrick Carmouche, but failed to fire after racing in the two-path around the turn, finishing 10 lengths in arrears of Lugan Knight.
Andiamo a Firenze is in search of his first victory since the Funny Cide presented by Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in August sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga. He scored the 5 1/2-length victory after a prominent trip under Irad Ortiz, Jr., notching both his first triumph against winners and his first stakes coup. That effort came on the heels of a third-place effort in the Grade 3 Sanford in July at the Spa and a debut maiden score in June at Belmont Park.
The dark bay son of Speightstown, who is a three-quarter sibling to multiple Grade 1-winner Firenze Fire, earned another stakes placing in October at Finger Lakes Racetrack when defeated a nose by Acoustic Ave. in the New York Breeders’ Futurity. There, he finished one length ahead of the filly Stonewall Star, who exited that effort to win the Key Cents in November and the Franklin Square on January 22 at the Big A.
Carmouche retains the mount from post 4.
Gary and Mary West’s Kentucky homebred Hit Show was scratched from Saturday’s Grade 3 Southwest at Oaklawn Park and rerouted to the Withers by trainer Brad Cox.
The grey son of Candy Ride arrives from a strong 3 1/2-length in a one-mile optional claimer on December 17 at Oaklawn, closing from 3 1/2 lengths off the pace to notch his first victory against winners. He showed great improvement from his previous start, an even fourth-place finish after bobbling at the start traveling 1 1/16 miles in November at Churchill Downs. He was an impressive debut maiden winner sprinting seven furlongs in October at Keeneland, earning the 5 1/2-length victory in a final time of 1:25.80.
Manny Franco has the call from post 5.
Completing the field are Seacoast Thoroughbreds of New England’s stakes-winner General Banker [post 2, Eric Cancel], who finished third in the Jerome last out for trainer James Ferraro; and trainer James Chapman and Stuart Tsujimoto’s Prove Right [post 6, Jose Gomez], who finished a close third in the Grade 3 Nashua in November at Aqueduct.
The Withers is slated as Race 7 on Saturday’s nine-race card, which also features the $100,000 Ruthless for sophomore fillies in Race 3. First post is 12:40 p.m. Eastern.
America's Day at the Races will present live coverage and analysis of the Aqueduct winter meet on the networks of FOX Sports. For the broadcast schedule and channel finder, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.
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