El Kabeir Headlines Withers

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Zayat Stables' streaking “TDN Rising Star” El Kabeir (Scat Daddy) shoots for his third straight tally against six maiden winners in today's GIII Withers S. at Aqueduct. The gray–a well-beaten second behind unbeaten Blofeld (Quality Road) over a muddy going in the GII Nashua S. Nov. 2–held on to secure a narrow victory in the GII Kentucky Jockey Club S. at Churchill Nov. 29. El Kabeir turned in a powerful performance to annex the GIII Jerome S. by 4 3/4 lengths over this course last time Jan. 3. 

“We're just going off how he's responding,” trainer John Terranova II said. “If he doesn't run well or doesn't come out of a race well, we'd space out his races, but we're taking it one race at a time. We're blessed to have a sound horse that's been doing very well with the workload he's taken on.” 

Classy Class (Discreetly Mine), a smart debut winner with an 88 Beyer Speed Figure going 6 1/2 furlongs at Belmont Oct. 25, could be a popular alternative. Ambitiously spotted for his second start with a very wide draw in the nine-furlong GII Remsen S. Nov. 29, the Cheyenne Stables colorbearer pressed eventual winner Leave the Light On (Horse Greeley) from his outside and tired in the stretch to finish a well-beaten fourth. 

“We absolutely think he wants two turns,” Kiaran McLaughlin's assistant trainer Arthur Magnuson said. “[The Remsen] was only his second start; we went from 6 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles–that's a lot to ask–and he ran very well. We were very pleased with his race. He's [still eligible for a non-winners of one], but he can run with this kind.” 

A pair of sons of Blame head into the deep end following maiden victories. March (Blame), a half-brother to GIII Bay Shore S. winner Eightyfiveinafifty (Forest Camp), followed a debut second behind subsequent Fred Cappy Capossela S. third Ship Disturber (Sky Mesa) Nov. 29 with a narrow win as the 4-5 chalk over next-out graduate Dontbetwithbruno (Tiz Wonderful) in his two-turn debut here Jan. 11. Far From Over (Blame), meanwhile, never said die in a game performance to don cap and gown going a mile and 70 yards at the Big A Dec. 12. The $550,000 KEESEP yearling purchase has been working smartly at Todd Pletcher's Palm Beach Downs base since.

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