11/03/2011 12:12PM

Aqueduct: Grassy goes after repeat in Red Smith


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Headed by last year’s winner, Grassy, a field of seven entered Saturday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Red Smith Handicap. Scheduled for 1 3/8 miles on turf, the Red Smith will be run for the 52nd time and is New York’s last graded stakes of the season in the male grass division.

Joe Bravo, who guided Grassy to a come-from-behind win in the 2010 Red Smith, is back on the Christophe Clement-trained horse, who exits a third-place finish in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic.

Grassy, the highweight at 119 pounds and the 9-5 second choice, breaks from the outside in the three-turn race. Boisterous, listed as the 8-5 favorite, is just to his inside in post 6, at 118 pounds with Alan Garcia. The two met previously in the Three Coins Up overnight stakes at Belmont’s spring meet, with Boisterous prevailing by three-quarters of a length over Grassy while in receipt of four pounds.

Boisterous, freshened up by Shug McGaughey after coming up empty as the favorite in the Sword Dancer, returned three weeks ago to get up late in the Knickerbocker Stakes.

Bold Hawk, the 2007 Hawthorne Derby winner, was third in last year’s Red Smith when beaten just over a length by Grassy, in what was his second start back from a layoff of nearly three years for Jimmy Toner. A 7-year-old gelding, Bold Hawk was a close third to Grassy in the Bowling Green Handicap on opening day of Belmont’s fall meet and was subsequently scratched from Keeneland’s Sycamore Stakes on Oct. 20 when it came off the grass.

Bold Hawk, the 5-1 third choice, shoulders 115 pounds from the rail with Jose Espinoza.

The common theme among the main contenders is that they’re apparently doing well.

“He’s doing well,” said Clement of Grassy, who will go under the hammer in the upcoming Keeneland November Breeding Stock sale. “He looks well, and he has been training well.”

McGaughey said, “Getting [Boisterous] back to the winners’ circle I think boosted his confidence. It’s a little quick back, but he’s doing really, really well, and he had a nice breeze the other day.”

Toner on Bold Hawk: “He’s doing well after the side trip to Keeneland, and the distance should suit him. He’s been knocking at the door, and we hope it will open.”

Exclusive Strike, Harrods Creek, Perfect Footprint, and Radical Sabbatical complete the lineup.