From the NYRA Media Team:
Six-time graded stakes winner Tiz a Slam will be seeking his fourth victory in the last five starts as he faces an accomplished full field of 3-year-olds and up in Saturday’s 60th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Red Smith going 1 3/8 miles on the Aqueduct Racetrack inner turf.
Tiz a Slam, owned by Chiefswood Stables Limited, is coming off a game fourth-place effort in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf on September 14 at Woodbine. But the Ontario-bred 5-year-old won three straight races against graded stakes company before that, posting a 4 ¼-length score in the Grade 2 Nijinsky, which he won for the second consecutive year, on July 28 at Woodbine. Over the same track and at the same 12-furlong distance, Tiz a Slam also won the Grade 3 Singspiel on June 22 on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course. Those efforts built on a three-quarter-length win in the Grade 3 Louisville on May 18 at Churchill Downs.
Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield, who will be seeking his first Red Smith win with his fourth starter, has seen Tiz a Slam win five graded stakes since turning 4. The son of Tiznow has registered Beyer Speed Figures of at least 90 in his last 11 starts.
“He’s a big horse and he’s just mature now,” Attfield said. “A lot of those bigger horses don’t mature until the end of their 4-year-old year and I think he’s fully matured now. We looked after him well in his early life, so he’s a very sound horse.
“He was a very uncoordinated young horse altogether. I think he’s just at his best right now,” the eight-time Sovereign Award winner for Canadian outstanding trainer added. “I didn’t think I’d even run him as a 2-year-old with the size of him, but as long as he got into races where he didn’t get checked or steadied and got into that big stride of his, he was very effective. But he couldn’t really play and jump and buck without half stumbling and falling over. He was just a big, gangly horse. But now, he can move and he’s showing a lot more speed now than he had before too. He’s a really nice horse.”
Tiz a Slam has breezed five times at Woodbine off the Northern Dancer Turf, including a trio of bullet breezes on the Tapeta main track. On Sunday morning, he covered five furlongs in 1:00.20 seconds under jockey Steve Bahen, who will retain the mount on Saturday from post 1.
Woodslane Farm’s Sadler’s Joy, who has earned three trips to the winner’s circle in graded stakes races, has been knocking on the door to earn his first victory of his 6-year-old campaign. The Tom Albertrani trainee has earned triple-digit Beyers in all three of his starts this year, including a 103 when he ran second, by a neck, to Annals of Time in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer on Travers Day, August 24, at Saratoga Race Course. Last out, he finished third, just a head back to runner-up Channel Maker and a half-length to winner Arklow, in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic on October 5 at Belmont.
Off a nearly seven-week break, Sadler’s Joy will run at 1 3/8 mile for the first time since a sixth-place effort in a blanket finish in the Grade 2 Bowling Green on July 27 at the Spa, where he earned a 102 Beyer, finishing just 1 ½ lengths back to winner Channel Cat.
“He’s very strong into this race; we gave him a little bit of time since the last race took a bit out of him,” Albertrani said. “We didn’t want to go to California [for the Breeders’ Cup] unless he was 100 percent, but these extra couple of weeks have been good. He’s coming into the race really well.”
Sadler’s Joy, the winner of the 2017 Grade 2 Pan American, 2017 Grade 1 Sword Dancer and the 2018 Grade 2 Mac Diarmida, has a 6-4-7 record in 25 starts with earnings of $2.36 million.
“He’s only run three times this year but he’s been narrowly beaten in his last two and his first race back, he had a lot of trouble but if he had a better trip, he would have been a lot closer in the Bowling Green,” Albertrani said. “He always seems to run his race and we look forward to seeing him run this weekend. With his running style, the more horses that are in the race, he’ll have to save more ground. It’s all about getting a good trip.”
Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano, who rode Sadler’s Joy to a third-place finish in the 2018 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf, will be on the call from post 7.
“He runs well with Javier. He seems to know the horse well,” Albertrani said.
Trainer Christophe Clement will saddle a pair of entrants in Robert Evans’ Have At It and Petit Fils.
Have At It, the winner of the 2018 Grade 2 Hill Prince, will be returning to stakes company for the first time in four starts, drawing post 9 with Manny Franco picking up the mount.
“He’s been training well and has been sound,” Clement said. “It makes sense to try him at a mile and three-eighths. We’ve been trying to get him back to his best form all year and I think we’re finally there.”
Petit Fils, French for “grandson,” will be making his North American debut after going 6-4-0 in 13 starts in his native France. Joel Rosario has the call from post 2.
“He’s a new horse that we got from Europe,” Clement said. “He’s a stayer, without a doubt. He’s training well for his [North American] debut. Rosario has been working him and will be aboard.”
Glorious Empire will be seeking his first on-the-board finish of the year. The James Lawrence trainee won 4-of-6 starts in 2018, including the Grade 1 Sword Dancer, the Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale and the Grade 2 Bowling Green.
Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado will ride from post 11.
Marzo enters off a personal-best 96 Beyer for his 1 ¼-length win in the Grade 3 Sycamore at 1 ½ miles on October 17 at Keeneland. Trained by Mike Maker, the 4-year-old Medaglia d’Oro gelding was purchased for $1 million at the 2016 Keeneland September Sale. Irad Ortiz, Jr. rides from post 4.
Nakamura, the runner-up in the Sycamore, is 4-3-2 in 13 starts for trainer Graham Motion. Jockey Jose Ortiz will ride from post 3.
Red Knight will go for his second straight win after rallying from fifth in the Point of Entry on October 13 at Belmont for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. The 5-year-old son of Pure Prize ran fifth in last year’s edition of the Red Smith and will try again for a second straight year, drawing post 8 with Junior Alvarado in the irons.
Rounding out the field is Dot Matrix, the winner of the Ashley T. Cole on September 22 at Belmont, for trainer Brad Cox [post 6, Jose Lezcano]; Red Right Hand, making his stakes bow for trainer Tom Morley in his 12th career race [post 5, Hall of Famer John Velazquez]; and Postulation, third in the Sycamore for trainer Michael Matz, from post 10 [Jorge Vargas].
The also-eligible list includes Mokheef, a winner against allowance company last out on September 29 for trainer Suzanne Stettinus; and Zumurudee, a winner in a 1 ½-mile route on April 17 at Keeneland, trained by Michael Stidham.
Entered for the main-track only is Bon Raison, a winner against optional claimers on October 25 at Belmont, for trainer Peter Tournas; Backsideofthemoon, conditioned by Rudy Rodriguez; and Dynamax Prime, for trainer Rob Atras.