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Red Smith Preview: Sadler’s Joy Ready For Title Defense
Sadler's Joy winning the 2019 Red Smith (Credit: NYRA)

Red Smith Preview: Sadler’s Joy Ready For Title Defense

SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY – Woodslane Farm homebred Sadler’s Joy is ready for his title defense in Saturday’s $100,000 Red Smith Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct.

The Red Smith is a 1 3/8-mile turf route open to horses ages 3 and up. This year’s edition is the penultimate event on a 10-race card and has a local post time of 3:45 PM.

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Here’s a look at the full field for the Red Smith:

1. Real Factor 50/1 – He returns to the turf after putting together a 3-1-1-1 record against allowance and optional claiming Presque Isle Downs foes. He finished second in 2 of his 3 career attempts going 1 1/2 miles on turf, but those came against maidens and allowance rivals earlier in his career. Trainer James Lawrence and jockey Jorge Vargas Jr. share a 24% win rate.

2. Changi 50/1 – He takes another stab in a marathon event after failing to finish better than fourth in 6 prior attempts at covering distances that were at least this long. In fact, only once has he won a race longer than 1 mile, and that came against $35k claimers in 2019. The Louisiana-bred 4-year-old Giant Oak colt has been owner/trainer Jeanne Dolan’s only 2020 starter.

3. Postulation 15/1 – The third start of his current form cycle brings him back to the Red Smith after finishing a well-beaten fourth in last year’s edition.  The Michael Matz trainee has finished second in 2 of his 3 starts this year, including the Sycamore last tim out. He’s helped set the pace in each of his 2020 tries, so don’t be surprised if he tries taking them gate to wire.

4. Sadler’s Joy 8/5 – The defending champ is still seeking his first victory of 2020; while he initially crossed first in the Bowling Green Stakes (G2), he was disqualified and placed fourth for impeding his foes in the stretch run. Regular rider Javier Castellano is off while recovering from hip surgery, but replacement jockey Joel Rosario is a more than adequate backup.

5. North Dakota 10/1 – He makes his second start after a 3-month break that ended in with a fourth-place finish in the 1 1/2-mile Sycamore Stakes (G3) at Keeneland behind several rivals whom he faces again here. He needed until this past March to break his maiden, but the 4-year-old Medaglia d’Oro colt seemed to like running long on turf and has every reason to improve here.

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6. Tintoretto 50/1 – The German-bred colt began his career stateside but needed to ship back to his homeland in order to break his maiden, which he did at 1 1/2 miles before winning at this distance next out by 16 lengths. His best prior efforts all came on soft to yielding ground, but with no rain forecast for the region until Sunday night, he may be up against it here.

7. Fame to Famous 50/1 – Owner/trainer John McAllen stretches him out to the longest distance of his career after he failed to threaten against allowance rivals in a 6-furlong sprint over a yielding Belmont Park inner turf course last month. The 3-year-old Tapit colt has not hit the board in 7 starts since breaking his maiden 13 months ago, his last start before McAllen took over.

8. Ziyad 9/2 – He missed second in the Sycamore by just a head behind Postulation in his first start for trainer Graham Motion, who took over duties after the British-bred gelding spent much of his career in France. His lone prior North American start saw him miss the Canadian International (G1) by less than a length and Motion won this race in 2017.

9. Aquaphobia 6/1 – The surprise 10/1 upsetter of the United Nations Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park earlier this summer failed to return to the winner’s circle in the Sword Dancer Stakes (G1) and the Sycamore. Trainer Mike Maker will leg up Irad Ortiz Jr. here; the two have won 25% together since the start of 2019, covering 200 shared mounts.

10. Red Knight 5/2 – Though he finished fifth in the off-turf 2018 edition, he was a much-improved second last year 1 start after winning the Point of Entry Stakes. He’s posted back-to-back triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures in hist past 2 starts, finishing second in the Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) before taking the Sycamore, and trainer Bill Mott hits at 18% with last-out victors.

11. Doctor Mounty 15/1 – He took his rivals on a fruitless merry-go-round chase to wire the Henry Clark Stakes at Laurel Park 2 starts back but struggled over the yielding Pimlico turf in the Dinner Party Stakes (G2) last time out. He finished last of 7 in his lone prior attempt beyond 1 1/8 miles and is seemingly up against it from a Beyer Speed Figure standpoint.

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