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Wednesday, November 14, 2001
Williams News tries to save his year

By David Grening
Daily Racing Form

JAMAICA, N.Y. -- Two years after nearly winning the Red Smith Handicap, Williams News will give it another try on Saturday at Aqueduct. The Red Smith, the final turf stakes of the year in New York, is a Grade 2 race run at 12 furlongs and carries a purse of $150,000.

In the 1999 Red Smith, Williams News made the lead in midstretch only to pull himself up, according to his trainer, Tom Amoss. That allowed Monarch's Maze to get past him and win by a length. It's a race Amoss recalls well.

"Jerry Bailey rode him and it was Jerry's first and only time on him," Amoss said Tuesday from Kentucky. "He made the lead, and he's the type if he makes the lead too early he will pull himself up. We were two lengths in front inside the eighth pole and he pulled himself up."

The Red Smith typified the type of career Williams News has had: 10 second-place finishes, six wins. He owns victories in the Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Handicap and the Elkhorn Stakes, a pair of Grade 3 races. A victory Saturday would put the 6-year-old gelding over $1 million in earnings for the On Target Racing Stable of Emil, Nicole, and Rosalie Cerullo.

After a solid 2000 campaign and a victory in the Elkhorn in April, Amoss had high hopes for Williams News this year. But Williams News has lost his last four races, including the Canadian International, in which he finished 11th. Amoss believes that race wasn't as bad as it looks on paper.

Amoss enters Saturday's Red Smith more hopeful than confident, and said that a victory by Williams News would "salvage the year" for the horse.

"It would make for a good year rather than a mediocre year," he said.

A victory would also make for a nice birthday present for Amoss, who turns 40 on Saturday. He will mark the occasion with family and friends in his native New Orleans and will watch the race on television.

Edgar Prado will ride Williams News in the Red Smith. Prado has never ridden the horse, but has worked him. Williams News and last year's winner, Cetewayo, will each carry high weight of 117 pounds.

Also expected to run are: Gritty Sandie (116), Franbulo (115), Mr. Pleasentfar (115), Eltawaasul (114), Lodge Hill (114), Cetrantee (113), Just Listen (113), Man From Wicklow (113), Regal Dynasty (113), Serazzo (113), Esperence (112), and Berchtesgaden (109).