Applebee: Closer Look Red Smith/Pebble – AQU Sat 11.11.23
Hapy Red Smith Day!
Today we have two graded stakes on the turf at the Big A, both with big competitive fields. The Pebbles has some nice up and coming three year old filly turf milers, and the Red Smith is oversubscribed with a number of salty veterans.
Trivia Question: Who was Red Smith?
Race 6 – The Pebbles – Grade III
One Mile on the Turf for Three Year Old Fillies
- Implicated: Started brightly last year breaking her maiden and wining the overnight Chelsea Flower Stakes with a 74 Beyer. Came back last month off a year layoff in N2X company for Chad Brown and she tired late after briefing taking the lead (76 Beyer). Should save ground will be coming late. Underneath.
- Plentitude: Clement trainee last raced in July when she was fourth in the Blue Sparkler Stakes at Monmouth (71 Beyer). Two back she won an N1X race sprinting on the turf. Stretches out to a mile. Fringe player.
- On the Shortlist: Has run well in the mid-Atlantic circuit going three for four on the turf. Faces much tougher today and will need to improve to contend. Passing.
- Precious Avary: This horse has only run on the turf in three of his fifteen career starts, but has won all three times including the Jersey bred Jersey Girl Stakes (82 Beyer) and the restricted Maryland Million Ladys Stakes (80 Beyer). Wants to be on the pace where she’ll have company today. Know her early.
- Silver Skillet: Two back was her best performance where he stalked the pace in the open Winter Memories Stakes, but was out finished by Sacred Wish. Last time she almost wired the field in the off the turf state bred Ticonderoga (77 Beyer). Back on the grass where she finished in the exacta all four starts. Comes back in two weeks and stretches out. Looking elsewhere.
- Sacred Wish: Had success on the dirt including a narrow loss the Coaching Club American Oaks. In her first turf attempt she won the Winter Memories (90 Beyer) with an inside out stalking trip. Two weeks ago in the Valley View she was at the back of the pack but got up for fourth (80 Beyer). She has been rating on the turf and should get the right set up with some pace in front of her. The Pick.
- Startup Mentality: Chad Brown trainee won her inaugural attempt back in July at Monmouth with a sweeping move to pass the entire field under a hand ride (77 Beyer). Visually impressive. Had an illness and then was rained off the turf – has been training steadily. Exotics.
- Rhiannon: Chad moved this Medaglia d’Oro filly to the turf for her second career start and she looked like an pro, stalking the pace and drawing off under urging to win by seven lengths (91 Beyer). If she moves forward off that performance she’ll win by open lengths. Gets a similar setup today to her last race where she is drawn outside and should have a target to run at. Using.
- Stephanie’s Charm: Hasn’t won in eight starts this year and hasn’t been particularly competitive in graded stakes races. No wins on the turf in nine career starts. Demand a big price.
10: Just Katherine: (MTO) Flopped in the slop in the Cotillion but ran two 90+ Beyers at the Spa including a second behind Randomize in the Wilton Stakes. Dangerous on the dirt.
Picks 6-8-7-1 Dirt Picks 6-10
Race 9 – The Red Smith – Grade II
One Mile and Three Furlongs on the Turf for Three Year Olds and Upward
- Lost Ark: Pletcher trainee was a respectable third in his only turf effort in the Saranac (84 Beyer) running against three year olds. Got the mile and a quarter in the off the turf Jockey Club Derby last month in the slop. Should help set the pace. Passing.
- So High: Seven year old only has three career wins but did perform well last month over a yielding surface at the Big A in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (97 Beyer) where he went way out in front by over fifteen lengths but was run down late by War Like Goddess and Solider Rising. Likely pace setter and if gets loose with no pressure – look out. Lean against.
- Main Event: Won for the first time this year just eight days ago (95 Beyer) over this course. Spins right around to take on Grade II company. Has never gone this far and will have other on the pace. Trainer Stat: George Weaver wins at a 27% clip with horses coming back in less than nine days from a sample size of fifteen starters. Threat to upset the apple cart.
- Cross Border: Venerable nine year old was sent to Keri Brion last year to be a jumper and made four starts over the fences. But he came back to Mike Maker and flat racing this spring. He flopped in the two mile Belmont Gold Cup, then ran better at the Spa, and bested a decent field in the overnight Cape Henlopen at Delaware Park going twelve furlongs (96 Beyer). Will get pace to run at. The Pick.
- Limited Liability: Kitten’s Joy offspring is an experienced stakes competitor and while he has not won a stakes race he has hit the board numerous times. Finished an up close third in the Sycamore Stakes last out where he had clear run, but was outkicked (96 Beyer). Held his own two back in the Grade I United Nations finishing fourth (96 Beyer). Dangerous.
- Nineeleventurbo: Pace presser type came east from Santa Anita several weeks ago in advance of this race. Has done his best running at longer distances and has finished in the exacta eight straight races running primarily as a pace presser/stalker. Best performance was two back in the DelMar Handicap where got the lead in the stretch but was caught. Will need to move forward.
- Marwad: Has been running on both the poly and grass tracks at Gulfstream Park. Last month on the synthetic he was flat late against conditioned claimers. That was his first start since strong second in the Mac Diarmida in March where he was second to Value Engineering (98 Beyer). Distance should suit and will be running in the lane. Small slice.
- Solider Rising: Finished second behind some very good ones this year – War Like Goddess in the Joe Hirsch, Bolshoi Ballet in the Sword Dancer (100 Beyer), and Up To The Mark in the Manhattan (100 Beyer). Hasn’t won against graded stakes company. Gets class relief today and there should be plenty of speed to set up his closing run. Will need to pass them all. Logical.
- Red Run: Public reports indicate this one will scratch and run at Churchill Downs instead.
- 10. Verstappen: We last saw this War Front gelding at Kentucky Downs two months ago in the Turf Cup where he was left chasing Get Smokin the whole way. He was in good position in the second flight but couldn’t dent the lead, finishing fifth (97 Beyer). Contender at a price.
- Tide of the Sea: Seven year old English Channel gelding has not won a race in over two year. This is his preferred distance. Should be up on the pace. Hard to endorse, but if he runs his best race he is competitive here. Will likely be sent from this post. Not today.
- 12. Master Piece: Rick Dutrow has given this one a freshening since he faltered in the Arlington Million which was run at Colonial Downs. Hasn’t won at today’s distance but his best running occurred earlier this in Saffie Joseph’s barn when he posted consecutive second place finishes in the long distance Mac Diarmida and Pan American stakes. Underneath in exotics.
- Classic Catch: (AE) Will draw in with the anticipated scratch of Red Run. Pletcher finally gets this one on the turf after two other attempts were washed off. Has several decent turf works. Posted a 100 Beyer two back at the Spa over the main track going ten furlongs. Will need to work a trip from the far outside. Live longshot.
- Shawdyshawdyshawdy: (AE): Finished eighth in this race last year and today is his second start off a seven month layoff. His return race last month was in the Sycamore where he was at the back of the pack and pretty stayed there the whole way finishing ninth of twelve runners. That was his first start in the Mike Maker barn. Did he need one? Looking elsewhere.
- 15. Daunt: (AE): Nyquist colt draws on the outside and has been remarkably consistent in running Beyers between 90-93 in seven races in a row. He’ll need to find more to compete here. Finished fourth in this race last year. Don’t see it.
- Costa Terra: (MTO): Linda Rice enters this MTO and he would be dangerous having earned a 100 Beyer last Summer. Doesn’t win often. Live if this moves to the main track.
Picks 4-8-5-7 Dirt Picks 13-16
Trivia Answer: Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith was a Pulitzer Prize sportswriter primarily with the New York Herald Tribune. He covered racing for over 50 years and famously described daily column writing as easy, “you simply sit down at the typewriter, open your veins, and bleed.”