The Saturday feature at Aqueduct is the $200,000 Red Smith (G3) at 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf with a wide open full field of 11 heading to the gate.
In addition to the 11 entered there are two on the also-eligible list and one main track only entrant. The weather looks picture perfect for Saturday in the Big Apple with mostly sunny skies with a high of 46 degrees with just a slight chance of rain.
The Tom Albertrani trained Sadler’s Joy is the 8-5 morning line favorite. The six-year-old was a close up third in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) where he was forwardly placed, beaten a half-length for the top spot.
“He’s very strong into this race; we gave him a little bit of time since the last race took a bit out of him,” Albertrani said. “We didn’t want to go to California [for the Breeders’ Cup] unless he was 100 percent, but these extra couple of weeks have been good. He’s coming into the race really well.”
In a wide open race his 8-5 price tag seems on the short side. I’ll lean toward more value with Red Knight (6-1) for the Bill Mott barn. The gelding won the Point of Entry at Belmont Park going 1 ½ miles in his last outing, earning a career top speed figure in the effort.
Others that add some value are Glorious Empire (6-1) who won last year’s Sword Dancer (G1) at Saratoga and Tiz a Slam (8-1) who has won three of his last four starts including the Nijinsky (G2) at Woodbine in July.
Let’s head out to Aqueduct for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Aqueduct Race 9 The Red Smith G3 (Post time 3:47 ET)
#8 Red Knight 6-1
#7 Sadler’s Joy 8-5
#11 Glorious Empire 6-1
#1 Tiz a Slam 8-1
The Bill Mott trainee came with a five wide run and drew clear late to a sharp win in the Point of Entry last out at Belmont Park at 1 1/2 miles. He came up short in the state bred Ashley Cole two back and in restricted company three back in the slop in the off the turf John’s Call but back in April was a solid second in the Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland on yielding ground off the bench. Mott seems to have him at the top of his game coming into this spot and we should catch a fair price.
This six-year-old has been a closer most of his career but showed a new dimension last out prompting a slow pace in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) and held o late in a third-place finish, beaten just a half-length. Four came out of that race to run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) but they did not fare well, finishing 4th, 7th,8th and 12th. The six-year-old has made just three starts this year, a sixth off the bench in the Bowling Green (G2) where he was beaten just 1 14/ lengths and then a neck loss in the Sword Dancer (G1). There should be enough of an early pace that Castellano should be able to take him back for one late run which is his best running style. He looks tough although the 8-5 morning line seems on the light side.
The gelding is going to be a decent price in this spot and can contend if he recaptures his form from last year where h won the Sword Dancer (G1) and Bowling Green (G2). He came back off the bench two back in the Baltimore Washington Turf Cup (G3) and had the lead heading for home but weakened to finish sixth, beaten two lengths. Next up was the Knickerbocker (G2) at nine furlongs where he seemed likely to move forward but regressed in a fifth-place finish. He can handle the extra two furlongs here as he won the Bowling Green at the Spa last summer at this distance. He is likely going to bounce back and give a better account of himself here and should be forwardly placed.
WIN: #8 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 7,8 / 1,7,8,11
TRI: 7,8 / 1,7,8,11 / 1,2,3,7,8,11