An excellent and well-matched field of 11 turf marathoners will travel 1 3/8 miles on the Aqueduct lawn in Saturday’s $100,000 Red Smith (G3). The great betting event could go to a number of contenders in the cast, but I will side with defending champ #4 Sadler’s Joy for the victory.

The Tom Albertrani trainee has been a high-level performer in these types of events for a few seasons, and I don’t think he is slowing down much at age 7. Chestnut son of Kitten’s Joy was a going-away winner of the event in 2019, and his form this campaign might be a bit better than it appears on paper, as well.

Sadler’s Joy finished a solid third in the Turf Classic (G1) at Belmont Park in his most recent performance behind multiple Grade 1 hero Channel Maker, who finished a great third in the subsequent Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Keeneland.

The top pick should be dead-fit following a handful of morning drills, and he also gets a new rider with Joel Rosario taking the reins. Sadler’s Joy will be coming from off the pace behind a decent early tempo.

Bill Mott’s #10 Red Knight was runner-up in the event last season and brings strong form to the table. Pure Prize gelding was a much-the-best winner of the Sycamore (G3) at Keeneland most recently, and the 6-year-old can adapt to any type of surface, too. Jose Ortiz will guide the Empire State-bred, who is an exotics must use in my opinion.

Likely pacesetter #3 Postulation and Sycamore third #8 Ziyad, are two others that I will use heavily in my vertical plays.

Wagers

  • $15 Win and Place: 4 Sadler’s Joy ($30)
  • $2 Exacta Key Box: 4 with 3,8,10 ($12)
  • $2 Trifecta Key: 4 with 3,8,10 ($12)