Irish Colonial Heads Diverse Red Smith Field

(from Aqueduct report)
Five-year-old Irish Colonial, who snapped a nine-race losing streak in his last start when he prevailed in the Mohawk Handicap for New York-breds, returns to open company in Saturday's $150,000 Red Smith Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Aqueduct turf.

The Red Smith, the final added money turf event of the year on the Aqueduct schedule at 1 3/8 miles, drew a field of 11 with two others entered for the main track only. The event has attracted a foreign horse, shippers from all over the Northeast and a number of locals, including three New York breds.

Fred Martin's Irish Colonial won the Mohawk by one-half length over Certifiably Crazy, a foe he will face again Saturday.

Facing open-company stakes conditions for the first time since he was a close third in the Bernard Baruch (gr. IIT) July 30 at Saratoga, Irish Colonial will be looking for back-to-back wins over the Aqueduct turf. She won a third-level allowance in his only other start there in May 2003.

"This was something we've been pointing for since the summer," said trainer Randy Schulhofer, whose Hall of Fame trainer father Flint "Scotty" Schulhofer conditioned the sire of Irish Colonial, 1993 Belmont Stakes winner Colonial Affair. "He's bred to handle the distance."

Irish Colonial has not raced farther than a mile and an eighth in over a year.

Schulhofer believes the condition of the turf course should suit Irish Colonial, who will have a new rider in Shaun Bridgmohan.

"He likes a little give in the course," Schulhofer said.

Certifiably Crazy, scratched from Friday's allowance feature at Aqueduct, held on gamely for second after setting the Mohawk pace. His last two races, both against New York breds, were solid efforts, earning him a spot in the Red Smith.

European invader Alost is one of the more experienced challengers at marathon distance with a 4-2-1 record from 10 starts farther than 10 furlongs. One of those victories came in the 4-year-old gelding's last race, a handicap at Le Bouscat in France. He ran at more competitive tracks like Maisons-Laffitte, Deauville and Longchamp without much success this year.

Hometown favorite Evening Attire has been entered in the Red Smith, but trainer Pat Kelly is not sure he will run the 6-year-old gelding here. Another option is the $500,000 Clark Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs Nov. 26, a race the gray won last year before being disqualified.

Evening Attire has only made two of his 37 starts on grass. His last race was over the Aqueduct turf course Oct. 30 when he finished a good second behind Host.

"I'm not sure there are a lot of grass races ahead of him," Kelly said. "We were looking ahead to next year when he ran in the Knickerbocker. If the turf is firm, we might try it again."

Evening Attire won the 2002 Red Smith when rain forced the race to the main track.

The 120-pound high weight for the Red Smith is Francis O'Toole's Dr. Brendler, who returned off a 14-month layoff due to a torn suspensory ligament to miss by a neck as the favorite in a Keeneland allowance Oct. 15. In 2003, Dr. Brendler won the Dixie (gr. IIT) at Pimlico and was third in Belmont's Manhattan (gr. IT).

$150,000 Red Smith Handicap (gr. IIT), 3 & up, 1 3/8 miles (turf)
1. Evening Attire, Pat Kelly, Jose Espinoza, 116
2. Rochester, Jonathan Sheppard, Cornelio Velasquez, 116
3. Certifiably Crazy, John De Stefano Jr., Pablo Fragoso, 112
4. Dreadnaught, Tom Voss, Jean-Luc Samyn, 115
5. Second Performance, David Donk, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 110
6. Navesink River, Todd Pletcher, Jamie Spencer, 108
7. Irish Colonial, Randy Schulhofer, Shaun Bridgmohan, 115
8. Alost, Antonio Spanu, Tony Farina, 116
9. Quiet Ruler, Russell Mueller, Julian Pimentel, 112
10. Sailaway, Shug McGaughey, Aaron Gryder, 114
11. Dr. Brendler, H. Graham Motion, Jose Santos, 120
Main Track Only
12. Zackocity, Pat Reynolds, no rider, 120
13. Kissin Saint, Lisa Lewis, no rider, 121

Dreadnaught will race without blinkers.