May 14, 2021

El Areeb dazzles again at the Big A in Withers

The Laurel-based El Areeb has been on a roll this winter at Aqueduct (Susie Raisher/Adam Coglianese Photography)

El Areeb turned in another visually stunning performance on Saturday, rolling to a fourth consecutive win, this time in the $250,000 Withers (G3) at Aqueduct.

The 1-2 favorite in a field of 10 three-year-olds, El Areeb rated three wide in third as 29-1 chance True Timber, who stumbled badly at the start but bulled his way to the lead entering the first turn, set a slow pace of :24.29, :49.31 and 1:14.06.

Bidding for the lead under Trevor McCarthy in upper stretch, El Areeb soon kicked clear and strolled home best by 4 1/4 lengths, with True Timber holding second by a half-length over J Boys Echo. Bonus Points finished fourth.

Owned by M M G Stables and trained by Cathal Lynch, El Areeb returned $3.10 after completing 1 1/16 miles on the fast inner dirt in 1:44.47.

Fourth and second in his first two outings, the gray son of Exchange Rate has won by open lengths in his last four. A 8 3/4-length maiden win at Laurel over six furlongs was followed by a 5 1/4-length decision in the $100,000 James F. Lewis III at the same distance.

Trying two turns for the first time in last month’s Jerome (G3), El Areeb skipped through the mud to score by 11 1/4 lengths. The 10 Kentucky Derby (G1) eligibility points he earned for Saturday’s win now pushes his total to 20.

“I thought he did it a little easier today,” Lynch said. “I know he didn’t win by as far but Trevor tapped him once on the neck, he said, just to keep his attention. He’s shown maturity there, when he sat behind those guys. He’s just a lovely horse.”

A $340,000 OBS March juvenile buy when last seen through the auction ring, El Areeb is the first stakes winner produced by Feathered Diamond, an A.P. Indy half-sister to Canadian stakes winner Dixieland Diamond and the Grade 3-placed Sky Diamond. Canadian champions Ruling Angel and Regal Intention also hail from this female line.

El Areeb has now earned $334,200 from a line of 6-4-1-0.