2021 Red Smith Stakes Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content

By Vance Hanson (TwinSpires.com)

1. TIDE OF THE SEA (15-1) – Didn’t find much separation between himself and the rest in the early stages of the Point of Entry, and was a spent force by the final quarter-mile. Best strategy would again be to try and lead these on a merry chase, but with Channel Cat adding blinkers, it could be a difficult task for him to shake loose and leave enough in the tank for the end. Really good in Florida last winter, but his form since then has seen disproportionally fewer bright spots.

2. VALUE ENGINEERING (8-1) – Has sure taken awhile to find his way into a stakes, but Brown obviously feels he now has him in the right place to do so after getting up late against N2X foes. That followed a long string of narrow losses at the level, including one to future G1 winner Say the Word. Just missed when trying this distance last year, so that’s no issue. Main drawback is that he loses Castellano for the first time in his career. Davis has done well enough aboard barn’s stock the last couple of seasons, but has been rarely used.

3. SOLDIER RISING (5-1) – The only three-year-old in the field, and worth pointing out that the only three-year-old ever to win this race did so more than 20 years ago. On the plus side, he has tremendous form lines. State of Rest, his Saratoga Derby (G1) conqueror, went on to take Australia’s biggest weight-for-age race, the Cox Plate (G1), while Jockey Club Derby scorer Yibir later posted a mild upset in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). His dull Hill Prince (G2) perhaps forgivable as he fell far off the pace behind modest splits, and nine furlongs probably too short for him at any rate. Better run expected here.

4. SERVE THE KING (3-1) – Certainly will receive long looks after his runner-up finish in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1). If there’s a critique to be made, though, that was a wild result with stablemate and fellow longshot Rockemperor on top after the favored Gufo arguably hit the front too soon. In other words, the effort might not be as good, or as trustworthy, as advertised. Still, he enters in peak form and has really only been beaten this season by his friends in the Brown shed row.

5. SHAMROCKET (6-1) – After knocking on the door multiple times this season, he earned his first black type win in the Point of Entry, and in decent raw time, too. However, can’t say there was much depth to the field of five. Out-finished by several of these throughout the year, suggesting he’ll find himself a cut or two below in this spot. Keeps Castellano, though, a plus given he’s guided the colt to his last two victories.

6. CORELLI (12-1) – Beaten just a little over two lengths in the Knickerbocker (G3) after a slow start last time, but not much was expected going in as form rather spotty since his importation. Aside from successes in the Henry Clark and a soft renewal of the Singspiel (G3), he’s generally looked a cut or two below this standard. Barn’s win percentage and the likely long price are the biggest attractions.

7. CHANNEL CAT (4-1) – Aside from his Man o’ War (G1) upset in May, little has gone right for him over the last couple of seasons. Connections reportedly dissatisfied with his lackadaisical start at Kentucky Downs last time, and they hope the addition of blinkers will ignite a spark. Has only one other serious foe for early supremacy, Tide of the Sea, but career trajectory seemingly on a downward curve and arguably an underlay in this spot.

8. SANCTUARY CITY (20-1) – Out of everyone here he’s had the most “Big A” experience, and it’s a good record at that. However, both tries against open stakes company this year were disappointing. That said, he beat all save a multiple G2 winner in the restricted Mohawk last time. Primary concern is that he’s yet to travel beyond 1 1/16 miles, and this is a tough cast he’s up against while his stamina is tested for the first time.

9. NO WORD (8-1) – With close losses to the likes of Domestic Spending and Gufo last season, there’s still some things to like about the colt’s relative class. However, inconsistency this year has been an issue. Bernard Baruch (G2) effort was solid enough, but bettors were a bit cool to him regardless in the Knickerbocker, where he lacked a late punch after a wide journey. Perhaps can get involved for a minor piece if able to save more ground.

10. PRICE TALK (8-1) – Lone prior stakes appearance, in which he finished third, occurred here last year in a relatively minor event. After three straight losses as the favorite, his former connections were willing to part with him for $50,000, but the fourth time proved lucky and he was back better than ever when stepping back up in class last out. Obviously flattered when Shamrocket came back to win the Point of Entry, and the extra distance here should pose few issues as the Kitten’s Joy gelding is out of a half-sister to a San Juan Capistrano (G2) winner. Intriguing.