02/02/2013 5:50PM

Aqueduct: Revolutionary gets an education in trouble-filled Withers win

Barbara D. Livingston
Revolutionary (right) broke slowly and lacked room under Javier Castellano at several points, yet still ran down Escapefromreality to win the Withers by a neck.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - It may not have been as dominant as his maiden win here five weeks ago, but Revolutionary’s neck victory in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct was equally if not more impressive.

Shuffled back to last down around the far turn and with seemingly no room to run in upper stretch, Revolutionary, under Javier Castellano, split horses in deep stretch and ran down Escapefromreality to win the Withers by a neck and put himself on the Kentucky Derby trail.

p>“This proved he deserves a chance to keep on the trail,” said Elliott Walden, president and CEO of WinStar Farm, the owner of Revolutionary. “This race was worth three.”

As far as the Kentucky Derby is concerned, this win was worth 10 points for Revolutionary. He will need to earn more points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Walden said that Revolutionary will likely head to trainer Todd Pletcher’s south Florida stable later this week and have one more race - presumably in late March or in April - to try to get into the Kentucky Derby. One possibility could be the Arkansas Derby, a race WinStar used for Super Saver before he won the 2010 Kentucky Derby.

Revolutionary was sent off the 3-5 favorite in the Withers based on his dominant 8 1/2 length maiden win here in a one-mile race here on Dec. 28.

In the Withers, as had been in the case in his first three starts, Revolutionary didn’t break well. He was second to last entering the first turn and was last straightening away down the backside. Siete de Oros and Smooth Bert dueled on the lead through a half-mile in 48.18 seconds.

Castellano attempted to advance Revolutionary along the inside around the far turn, but got shuffled back to last. Coming to the top of the stretch, Revolutionary was full of run, but didn’t have anywhere to go.

Siete de Oros opened up a lead at the three-sixteenths pole, and Escapefromreality was rallying three wide. Castellano was still seeking room, found it inside the sixteenth pole, and Revolutionary finished powerfully to get up in the final strides.

Revolutionary, who galloped out about 10 lengths in front of the field, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.32 and returned $3.50 to win.

“He didn’t break that sharp. I didn’t panic,” said Castellano, who won four races on the card including three stakes. “The key to him is you got to be patient. I could have gone around the horses at the three-eighths pole - I had so much horse.

“I wanted to teach him something. I knew he could get it done. In my mind it was best to wait. He responded so well today. He’s a classy horse. I like the way he did it. He split horses, he got through and finish very strong. He galloped out great, also.”

Walden said he thought Castellano had horse if he could find a seam.

“It’s not like he was 15 back, he was eight back, but he was in trouble, so you never knew if he was going to get through,” Walden said. “You knew if he did get through, he’d have some horse. It was nice to see him come running like that.”

Escapefromreality, a New York-bred gelding by Read the Footnotes, ran a strong race in what was his first start around two turns.

“He was trapped in from the three-quarter pole coming around, he was completely boxed in,” said Anthony Bonomo Jr., racing manager for his parents' racing operations. “Finally, found some room and he really ran his eyeballs out today. He didn’t get beat by a slouch, either.”

Escapefromreality finished 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Siete de Oros, who was followed in the order of finish by Amerigo Vespucci, Champion Boy, Smooth Bert, Valid, who stumbled badly at the start, and Long River.

Bonomo said Escapefromreality would remain in New York and point to the Grade 3, $400,000 Gotham on March 2. That race is expected to include stakes winners Overanalyze and Clawback.