Trainers Mike Maker and Chad Brown have won the past two editions of the $200,000 Red Smith H. (G3), and each will saddle the main contenders in Saturday’s renewal of the 1 3/8-mile inner turf test for older horses.
Maker, who won with Bigger Picture last year, sends out the potential favorite in Oscar Nominated. The son of Kitten’s Joy finally broke through in the seventh start of his campaign two back in the Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) at Kentucky Downs. Last time over soft ground, Oscar Performance held second in the Canadian International (G1) behind Bullards Alley, who freakishly romped by more than 10 lengths.
The main threat from the Brown stable is Money Multiplier, who looks to rebound off a sub-par eighth in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1). A winner of his only start on this course, the son of Lookin at Lucky won the Monmouth (G2) two back and was a close second in the Sword Dancer Invitational (G1) in his race prior to the Turf Classic.
Both Maker and Brown have entered longer-priced entrants as well. The Maker-trained St. Louie was fourth, beaten two lengths, in the Kentucky Turf Cup prior to a gutsy allowance win at Keeneland, while Brown’s back-up is the Grade 3-placed Call Provision, who’s captured two allowances over this distance in his past three starts.
Another major contender in the Red Smith is Hunter O’Riley, who upset Bigger Picture by a neck at 16-1 in the Bowling Green (G2) at Saratoga in July. The Jimmy Toner trainee ran another solid race in the Sword Dancer, finishing fourth by a little more than a length. The son of Tiz Wonderful has not run since that 12-furlong fixture 2 1/2 months ago.
Graham Motion’s two include Grade 2 winner Messi, a close third in the Northern Dancer Turf (G1) two back before a dull try in the Canadian International, and Spring Quality, fourth in the nine-furlong Knickerbocker (G3) in his grass debut last out. New York-bred turf ace Get Jets is another worthy of merit exiting back-to-back wins in the $150,000 West Point and $125,000 Ashley T. Cole for state-breds.