04/24/2009 11:00PM

Withers field comes up strong

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Bob Coglianese
This Ones for Phil (left) runs second in the Swale but is awarded victory.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Forget whether it will produce a starter for the Preakness, Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct is a terrific race on its own merit, with a few established 3-year-olds and a few looking to become established.

Led by the multiple stakes winner This Ones for Phil, the Withers, a one-turn mile race which produced the 2006 Preakness winner Bernardini, drew a solid field of seven, five of whom are coming off victories. However, Everyday Heroes, who was undefeated in three starts, will scratch after scoping poorly following a routine training session Friday at Delaware Park. The Withers is the third leg of a pick-four that has a guaranteed pool of $250,000.

Since being purchased privately by a group headed by Paul Pompa Jr., and turned over to Richard Dutrow Jr., This Ones for Phil has won the Sunshine Millions Sprint and was put up to first in the Grade 2 Swale after being bumped by Big Drama in the stretch. Big Drama's time of 1:20.88 established a Gulfstream Park track record for seven furlongs.

In both of those races, This Ones for Phil stalked a fast pace. In his one loss, a fifth-place finish to Quality Road in the Fountain of Youth, This Ones for Phil made the pace, much to Dutrow's chagrin. Though he will break from the rail on Saturday, This Ones for Phil figures to take up a stalking position under Ramon Dominguez.

"I don't see it as a problem as long as the race goes the way it's supposed to," Dutrow said about having This Ones for Phil rate. "I'm not thinking we're making a bad move running him in there."

Dutrow said he is not using the Withers as a prep for the Preakness.

In a field with an abundance of speed, Supreme Summit and Mr. Fantasy could duke it out on the front end. Supreme Summit ships in for Doug O'Neill coming off two sprint victories over Santa Anita's synthetic surface. O'Neill is confident the horse can stretch out.

"He's got a tremendous stride, like a horse that'll have no problem stretching out," said O'Neill, who will be here to saddle the horse.

After finishing third to I Want Revenge in the Gotham, Mr. Fantasy was held out of the Wood Memorial because of concerns over the colt's physical appearance. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin believes the horse has bounced back: "He's put on a few pounds. He looks brighter, better."

McLaughlin expects Mr. Fantasy to be in the first flight of horses, "whether it's one, two, or, three - we'll leave that up to the jock," he said. Richard Migliore rides from post 5.

Just a Coincidence is cutting back to a one-turn mile after finishing third to I Want Revenge in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial. Just a Coincidence, trained by Nick Zito, won a pair of one-turn mile races at Gulfstream before the Wood.

"When you get 3-year-olds, you need to put them in races where you hope they'll go to big races," Zito said. "When we won the Belmont with Da' Tara, he ran two good races and he won the Belmont. He got right at the right time because we kept going."

Gone Astray, and Seal Team complete the field.

:: (DRF Plus)