King's Drama the class of Red Smith cast
OZONE PARK, N.Y. -- King's Drama looks intimidating Saturday in the Grade 2, $150,000 Red Smith Handicap, the last graded grass stakes of the year at Aqueduct.
In his last two New York appearances, both Grade 1 stakes, King's Drama won the Sword Dancer at Saratoga and was second by a neck to Better Talk Now in the Man o' War at Belmont Park. A 5-year-old gelding, King's Drama is trained by Bobby Frankel.
"The horse to beat is Frankel," said Richard Schosberg, who sends out Certifiably Crazy. "He's got a class edge. It's a question of whether he has enough weight on him to back him up."
King's Drama totes top weight of 122 pounds in the 1 3/8-mile race with Edgar Prado aboard. He tries to rebound from an eighth-place finish in the Grade 1 Canadian International over a yielding course at Woodbine on Oct. 23.
Dreadnaught and Certifiably Crazy, the one-two finishers in the Red Smith last year, return to renew that rivalry. In that showdown, Dreadnaught got up late by a nose to deny Certifiably Crazy a front-running victory.
In his final Red Smith prep last year, Dreadnaught was second in the John Henry Stakes at The Meadowlands Racetrack.
Trainer Tom Voss planned a return to The Meadowlands this fall for Dreadnaught, but the rainy weather in New Jersey last month resulted in the cancellation or postponement of several races Dreadnaught could have run in. Dreadnaught wound up instead at Keeneland, in Grade 3 Sycamore Breeders' Cup Stakes, and finished second.
"I thought he ran well," Voss said. "It wasn't his best, but it was the kind of race that should set him up."
Voss is looking for a less eventful prerace experience this year. Dreadnaught flipped in the starting gate last year but came out running. He will add blinkers on Saturday.
As usual, the New York-bred Certifiably Crazy again figures to be on the lead turning for home. Certifiably Crazy has good early speed but he also showed an ability to rate two starts back when he stumbled out of the gate before gathering himself to win against statebreds in the Ashley T. Cole Handicap at Belmont.
"That was the first time he showed the ability to rate and draw off," Schosberg said. "Having a speed horse who can go long on the turf is okay, too.
"It's going to be a jockeys' race," he added. "It's good to be able to go that far and do it on the front end. It's not a bad situation to be in, with tactical speed."