January 20, 2022

Red Smith attracts competitive field of 10

Channel Cat
Channel Cat narrowly edges out Gufo (obscured but for white muzzle) to win the Man o' War Stakes (Joe Labozzetta/Coglianese Photos)

Red Smith S. (G2) — Race 9 (3:43 p.m. ET)

Although they’ve made some noise at the highest level this season, candidates like Channel Cat, Serve the King, and Soldier Rising are far from standouts in Saturday’s $200,000 Red Smith S. (G2) at Aqueduct over 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf.

Unplaced in three starts since upsetting the Man o’ War (G1) in May, Channel Cat will be adding blinkers on Saturday in an attempt to ignite a little more passion in to the six-year-old. He was most recently a well-beaten sixth in the Kentucky Turf Cup (G2) at Kentucky Downs.

“He lacked that little bit of spark in his past couple of starts and the addition of blinkers will help him do that,” trainer Sisterson said. “In the race at Kentucky Downs, he didn’t make the lead and didn’t really finish up. I felt that there was something missing the last two races and I think blinkers will help.”

Serve the King, one of two in the field for Chad Brown, completed a longshot exacta in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) last time behind stablemate Rockemperor, but the son of Kingman’s only prior win this season was in a restricted stakes at Saratoga.

“He’s coming off his best performance. He’s one that keeps developing and one that we thought a lot of,” Brown said.

Soldier Rising, the only three-year-old in the field, perhaps has the most right to move forward. Although only fifth in the Hill Prince (G2) last time over a nine-furlong trip arguably too short for him, he was an earlier second in the Saratoga Derby (G1) to eventual Cox Plate (G1) winner State of Rest, and in the Jockey Club Derby to Yibir, who later captured the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).

No Word has lost some close ones the past two years against the likes of Domestic Spending and Gufo, but has run only one strong race this season from three starts when a half-length second in the Bernard Baruch H. (G2).

The New York-bred Sanctuary City, the only horse in the field with winning experience on the Aqueduct turf, enters off a second to the graded-quality Somelikeithotbrown in the Mohawk S., while the lightly-raced Price Talk was an allowance winner last time first off the claim for Tony Dutrow. Another two-time allowance winner, Value Engineering, is the other Chad Brown starter.

Graded winners Tide of the Sea and Corelli, and recent Point of Entry S. scorer Shamrocket, complete the lineup.