Turf races this time of year in the northern tracks are always dangerous propositions and often produce unpredictable results. Some horses just don't take to the cold weather and generally slick surfaces all that well. That said, there's a lot to like about some of the horses running in the Red Smith Handicap on Saturday.
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2: Great Dancer
3: War Dancer
4: St. Albans Boy
5: Iron Power
7: Mr. Speaker
8: Holiday Star
9: Mr. Maybe
10: Charming Kitten
Considering the fact that the horse who has the top ranking in Prime Power, Kaigun failed as underdogs of 16 to 1 and 12 to 1 in his last two races, both of which came at Woodbine, we have our doubts as to whether there is really a bona fide favorite in the Red Smith Handicap.
Kaigun would be the likely choice, knowing that he has historically been favored in all of his races in which he has run against lackluster fields like this one, but there are others to like as well like Mr. Speaker and Holiday Star who could be amongst the favorites when the morning lines come out as well.
FAVORITE TO FOLLOW
Mr. Speaker is the most interesting colt in this field. He's got a pair of really good Beyer Speed Ratings in a row at the Commonwealth Cup and the Knickerbocker Stakes, and though he didn't win the later of the two, he did hit the board against a good field by the standards of a Grade 3 race.
He's got five of his six career wins on the turf, and over $1,000,000 of his earnings have come on this surface.
This is a stalker by nature, something which has to be a bit of a concern, knowing that the grass could be wet and make things interesting. Still, if you want to talk about the best pound-for-pound horse in this field, we think Mr. Speaker is it.
UNDERDOG TO WATCH
Speed could be crucial on Saturday, and though War Dancer isn't going to be a huge longshot, he won't be a huge favorite either. He hasn't won a race in over a full year and in fact, has just four victories in his entire career.
This though, is a big spot for War Dancer to succeed, and perhaps moving to a new track and racing deep into the year might help him for a change. This is all new territory for War Dancer, and with some really sharp workouts of late, he's one to not be forgotten.
ANALYSIS AND PREDICTION
If the weather is nice on Saturday at Aqueduct, we have a lot of confidence in Mr. Speaker. We know we want him in our exotics one way or the other, but we just can't bet on him to win the Red Smith Handicap if the weather is poor.
That's why we want to look at the speed. War Dancer will probably start at the head of the pack in this one, while Iron Power will go out there with him. These two are the ones to watch for sure if it's slick, but we have more confidence in a better raced horse with a better raced jockey on his back, and that's why we'd take War Dancer of the two.
Play War Dancer to win the Red Smith Handicap
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