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Hyper, Tannery Clash in Red Smith

Multiple stakes winners Hyper, Tannery and Imagining look to close out their 2013 seasons with a flourish as they head a jam-packed field for Saturday's 57th running of the Grade 3, $250,000 Red Smith Handicap, the year's final graded turf stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack.

No worse than third in eight starts this year, Hyper most recently was second, beaten less than a length, in the Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International on October 27 at Woodbine. The Ken and Sarah Ramsey color-bearer won his first American stakes this summer at Saratoga Race Course, taking the 1 5/8-mile John's Call, and on September 7 made it two in a row with the Grade 2 Bowling Green Handicap at Belmont Park.

Javier Castellano, New York's leading rider, has the mount aboard the Chad Brown trainee, the 5-2 morning-line favorite under high weight of 120 pounds. The pair will leave from post position 11 for the 1 3/8-mile race.

Overshadowed for much of the year by her stablemate, Laughing, Tannery brings a Grade 1 victory of her own into the Red Smith, having taken the E. P. Taylor on October 27 at Woodbine last time out. It will be the 4-year-old filly's second start against males this year; in August, she was a wide-trip fourth in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga.

"She's a really good filly who hasn't done a whole lot wrong; she's fired every time," said trainer Alan Goldberg of Tannery, who won the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay in May at Belmont. "I think she could have been in the top three in the Sword Dancer with a little better trip. Both she and Laughing are talented, but while Laughing can be a bit worrisome and temperamental, this filly is much more laid back. You can put her on a van, race her, bring her home - she'll do anything."

At 5-1 on the morning line, Tannery drew post position 6 with Alex Solis in the irons.

Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey and the Phipps Stable will try to make it three straight victories in the Red Smith, this time with Imagining, who takes over for two-time winner Boisterous. Imagining, a 5-year-old son of Giant's Causeway, has won three of his five 2013 starts, including the Bowl Game and Idle Rich overnight stakes. Sixth in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational after vying for the lead, Imagining's turned in his best graded stakes finish when second in the 2011 Grade 1 Hollywood Derby.

"He's coming off a very good race," said McGaughey's assistant, Buzz Tenney, of Imagining's front-running win in the 1 ¼-mile Bowl Game. "He kind of likes to run his own race. He'll be up in the race early, if not on the lead, and I think he'll be a factor. His last two races were pretty good, and hopefully he'll make it three good ones in a row."

Joel Rosario will ride Imagining, 7-2 on the morning line, from post position 2.

The Red Smith also drew Sky Blazer and Exclusive Strike, second and third behind Imagining in the Bowl Game; 2013 West Point presented by Trustco Bank winner Hangover Kid, and Slip and Drive, who took the Japan Racing Association stakes at Laurel Park last time out. Artic North, Howe Great, Mission Approved, Nutello, Sandyinthesun and Quick Casablanca complete the field. Percussion will run only if the race comes off the turf.




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