After notching his first graded stakes victory with a powerful late charge one year ago, Grassy is back to defend his title in the $150,000 Red Smith Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Aqueduct turf Nov. 5.
Claiborne Farms and Adele Dilschneider’s gray son of El Prado has had six subsequent starts since his initial Red Smith score, including a third, two seconds and a win in the Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT) at Belmont Park.
The 1 3/8-mile Red Smith will be run as race 6 on an eight-race live card at the Big A, which also will feature the full simulcast of the final day of the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs. First post time is 12:20 p.m. EDT, while the Red Smith is set to go off at 3:33 p.m.
“He’s doing well,” said trainer Christophe Clement of Grassy, who is scheduled to be sold in the Keeneland November Breeding Stock sale later this month. “Since he is being sold, it would be great if he could do well in this race. I’ve been lucky to train him for Mrs. Dilschneider and Mr. (Seth) Hancock. He’s a fun horse, and he’s going to be a fun horse for someone.”
Now 5, Grassy heads into the Red Smith off a third-place finish in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT), a race in which he also finished third last year. Overall, he is 5-3-3 from 16 starts with earnings of $465,564.
Joe Bravo will ride Grassy, the 119-pound highweight and second choice on the morning line at 9-5. They will break from the outside post 7.
Boisterous, pegged at 8-5, will be seeking his second straight stakes score. He found the winner’s circle again after a five-month absence in the Knickerbocker Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Oct. 15.
“Getting back in the winner’s circle I think boosted his confidence,” said Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. “It’s a little quick back, but he’s doing really, really well and he had a nice breeze the other day (4f, 51.74 on Oct. 29).”
With regular jockey John Velazquez out of town for the Breeders’ Cup, Alan Garcia has the call aboard the 4-year-old Distorted Humor colt.
Bold Hawk, now 7, is seeking his first victory since a return to racing in 2010 following a three-year absence. Most recently, the gelding finished third in the Bowling Green, having been scratched from the Sycamore (gr. III) at Keeneland after it came off the turf.
At 5-1 on the morning line, Bold Hawk will be making his first start for his new owners, Ninety North Racing Stable. Jose Espinoza will ride from the rail.
Rounding out the field are Harrods Creek, a recent allowance winner at Keeneland; Exclusive Strike, stepping into graded stakes company off a three-race win streak; Perfect Footprint, fourth in the Third Martini overnight stakes at Belmont last time out; and Radical Sabbatical, third in the Third Martini.
$150,000 Red Smith Handicap (gr. IIT, Race 6, 3:33 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 3/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Bold Hawk (KY), J L Espinoza, 115, J J Toner
2. Exclusive Strike (KY), M J Luzzi, 113, J Servis
3. Perfect Footprint (KY), J Rodriguez, 114, D J Figueroa
4. Harrods Creek (KY), M Mena, 114, W I Mott
5. Radical Sabbatical (KY), D Cohen, 115, B Tagg
6. Boisterous (KY), A Garcia, 118, C R McGaughey III
7. Grassy (KY), J Bravo, 119, C Clement