Sunny Ridge continued his winning ways, beating Vorticity by 3/4 of a length Saturday in the $250,000 Withers Stakes. But the biggest news may not be the victory, but where Sunny Ridge may be headed in 2016.
After the race, trainer Jason Servis did not guarantee a trip to the Derby for the horse, who now has 18 points in the Kentucky Derby standings. For Sunny Ridge’s owner, the Haskell Invitational in August seems to be the likely route for the horse, he said. If the colt continues to do well, the Preakness might be an option, but there was not much talk of a Derby run.
“The Derby is 20 [horses] and the Preakness is always eight or nine,” Servis told Daily Racing Form. “Run in the Wood, run good, then skip the Derby and run in the Preakness. I’d be okay with that.”
Sunny Ridge, a gelding who is the son of Holy Bull, did not impress in the lackluster pace, battling it out with Vorticity in an exciting stretch run. He finished the 1 1/16 mile race in a lackluster 1:46.99, the slowest of the five Withers Stakes run at this distance. In comparison, Mohaymen ran the same distance that same day in 1:42. Adventist finished third.
The other big news coming out of the Withers was the disappointing finish of the 1-2 favorite, Flexibility, who finished out the money for the first time in his five-race career, was coming off a win earlier in the month in the Jerome Stakes. He never really threatened and bumped Adventist several times during the stretch run.