11/04/2010 12:03PM

Nashua, Red Smith among graded stakes on Aqueduct card


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Though overshadowed by the Breeders’ Cup, Saturday’s graded stakes tripleheader is the second-biggest day of Aqueduct’s fall meet.

The Tempted and Nashua, a pair of one-mile stakes out of the chute for 2-year-olds, are carded as the fourth and sixth races; the Red Smith Handicap, the last graded turf stakes of the season for males in New York, is the seventh of eight races on the card.

Entries were light for the juvenile races. The Grade 3, $100,000 Tempted drew five fillies, only one of whom, Tap for Luck, is currently based in New York. The Grade 2, $150,000 Nashua attracted six colts, including To Honor and Serve, an eye-catching maiden winner for Bill Mott five weeks ago.

The Grade 2, $150,000 Red Smith drew nine, but recent rain may lead to the defection of Presious Passion, who led to deep stretch of the Breeders’ Cup Turf last year.

A durable 7-year-old gelding, Presious Passion was assigned top weight of 122 pounds and would concede anywhere from five to nine pounds if trainer Mary Hartmann opts to run him in the Red Smith a third time; he caught yielding turf and finished off the board in 2007 and 2008. for a third try at the Red Smith with the durable 7-year-old gelding, who caught yielding turf and finished off the board in 2007 and 2008.

Presious Passion, who drew the rail, was scratched from the Knickerbocker Stakes at Belmont on Oct. 17, when the course came up yielding.

Whatsthescript, a 6-year-old horse who spent the first part of 2010 at stud, wound up setting the pace in the Knickerbocker and held on well to finish second to odds-on Violon Sacre.

Based at Aqueduct with Gary Contessa, Whatsthescript may vie for favoritism with Simmard, a Roger Attfield-trained shipper from Woodbine who was a close third in the Bowling Green at Belmont Park two starts back; and Grassy, a rallying third in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic last time out for Christophe Clement.

“He ran a very nice race in the Turf Classic and came out of it in good order,” Clement said. “We are supposed to get some rain [Thursday], and he should enjoy the softer turf.”

Strike a Deal, who won the 2008 Red Smith by seven lengths in a career-best performance for Alan Goldberg, is back for another try.

The “wow factor” for To Honor and Serve’s maiden win was right up there with Uncle Mo and Boys At Tosconova among the current crop of New York-based 2-year-olds, but after considering a start in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Mott decided to keep To Honor and Serve at home.

“I thought it was probably a more conservative, wise decision to give him a little more time,” Mott said. “I think we wouldn’t have been out of our league in the race, I opted for a little more conservative path to get him to his 3-year-old races next year. His future is down the road.”

A Bernardini colt, To Honor and Serve was off a step slow from the rail in his debut at Saratoga, and he drew the rail again for the Nashua. Breaking to his outside in order, are Quality Council, Mucho Macho Man, Settle for Medal, Economic Summit, and I’m Steppin’ It Up.

Economic Summit rallied for fifth behind To Honor and Serve after being bumped at the break and racing far back early in his Spa bow. However, he broke on top en route to a pace-pressing maiden win second time out for Klaravich Stables and Rick Violette Jr., who won the 2003 Nashua with Read the Footnotes.

Tap for Luck, a big-figure debut winner going five-eighths at Saratoga, will try to rebound after finishing fifth in the Frizette for Todd Pletcher, whose four wins in the Tempted include Ailalea last year.

“She did have a little bit of bad racing luck in the Frizette,” assistant trainer Jonathan Thomas said. “Both her works since have been solid.”

Pinch Pie and Dixie City, based respectively at Delaware Park and Parx Racing for Tony Dutrow, bookend the field from the rail and post 5. Dixie City, a Ned Evans homebred by Dixie Union, may go favored on the strength of two straight wins.

Doing Great, 2 for 2 after taking the Maryland Million Lassie, and Full Moon Blues, a 10-length maiden winner at 1-5 last out, ship in for Laurel-based trainers Mike Trombetta and Tim Tullock.