10 of the Best Red Smith Stakes winners at Aqueduct

Profile Picture: Alastair Bull

November 21st, 2021

Previously the Edgemere H., the Grade 2 turf race was renamed for the outstanding sports journalist Walter “Red” Smith in 1982. It’s been one of the better turf races since its inception in 1960. Here are 10 of the best winners of the 1 3/8-mile contest.

10. Sadler’s Joy (2019):

One of the great troopers of the turf still racing. Sadler’s Joy has earned $2.6 million in six seasons of racing. As well as winning this race, he won the Sword Dancer (G1) in 2017 and he finished third in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).

9. Balto Star (2003):

The $2.3 million earner won the 2001 Arkansas Derby (G1) prior to failing in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Didn’t win again at graded stakes level until the 2003 Whirlaway H. (G3), but later won the United Nations H. (G1), the Red Smith, and two other graded stakes.

8. Will I Rule (1964):

One of the best and most versatile handicap turf horses in the early 1960s, Will I Rule won several races that are now graded stakes, including the Canadian International. He also scored three major hurdle victories.

7. Highland Blade (1982):

On the Classic trail as a three-year-old, Highland Blade finished second to Summing in the Belmont S. (G1). As an older horse he was adept on grass and dirt, winning the Pan American H. (G1), Brooklyn H. (G1), and the Marlboro Cup (G1). He also finished second in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1).

6. Drumtop (1970, 1971):

One of only two dual winners of the race, along with Boisterous (2012-13). The Round Table mare won 17 races and regularly took on the males, beating them often. Won the Canadian International and beat top horses like Fort Marcy and Cougar II. Later the dam of the good stallion Topsider.

5. Evening Attire (2002):

A warrior who raced for nine seasons and earned $2.97 million, Evening Attire was at his four-year-old peak when he won the Red Smith, which was contested on dirt in 2002. That same year he also won the Jockey Club Gold Cup and was fourth to Volponi in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). Won his last race, the Greenwood Cup at Philadelphia Park, as a 10-year-old.

4. Yankee Affair (1990):

Another warrior, Yankee Affair was an eight-year-old when he won the Red Smith in what is still stakes record time. The year before he was runner-up in voting for champion male turf horse after winning three Grade 1s – the United Nations H., Man o’ War, and Turf Classic.

3. Theatrical (1987):

The Irish-bred moved, a five-year-old in 1987, won seven of his eight starts. After taking the Red Smith he won the Bowling Green H. (G1), Sword Dancer, Turf Classic (G1) and Man o' War before beating Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) winner Trempolino in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).

2. Tiller (1978):

One of the forgotten horses from a golden period of American racing, Tiller was a high-class galloper who won 16 races from 40 starts between 1977 and 1980. He won twice at Grade 1 level and was able to score victories over two turf greats, John Henry and Exceller. He also finished second to Affirmed in the Santa Anita H. (G1).

1. Waya (1979):

Another great horse from an outstanding era. Waya began her career in France, winning twice at graded level, before heading to the U.S. as a four-year-old. In 1978 she beat the males in the Turf Classic and the Man o’ War, beating Tiller. The following year she won the Saratoga Springs Cup, a one-year replacement race for the Red Smith, before winning the Top Flight H. (G1) and the Beldame S. (G1) on her way to winning the Eclipse Award for champion older female.