Lucky Speed exerts class in American St Leger

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

August 15th, 2015

Lucky Speed, the only Group 1 winner in the field, rallied late to edge Panama Hat by three-quarters of a length in Saturday's $350,000 American St Leger (G3) at Arlington.

Under Andrasch Starke, Lucky Speed was always traveling comfortably in fifth as longshot Alpha Kitalpha led for more than a mile. Advancing to fourth around the last of three turns, Lucky Speed swung out for the stretch run and wore down the Team Valor-owned Panama Hat in course-record time of 2:46.50 for 1 11/16 miles on the firm turf. The 3-1 second choice, Lucky Speed paid $8.

This was the first win of any kind for Lucky Speed since capturing the German Derby (G1) at Hamburg in July 2013. He was out of action nearly 11 months following that win, and placed in only two of four starts in Germany last season.

Making his first start since September in the July 19 Nijinsky (G2) at Woodbine, Lucky Speedy made a modest rally to be fourth in that nine-furlong event, but the race obviously served its purpose as a useful tightener for the St Leger.

Lucky Speed is by Arlington Million (G1) winner Silvano and out of the Group 3-placed Monsun mare Lysuna. Despite his all German-family, the five-year-old was foaled in Ireland as Lysuna was immediately bred back to the Coolmore stallion Montjeu. Lucky Speed was bred by Gestut Hof Ittingen, is owned by Stall Hornoldendorf, and is trained by Peter Schiergen.

Panama Hat, a handicapper in Ireland last year, entered the St Leger off a listed stakes score at Roscommon in Ireland. He did have a quality running line to his credit from June when he ran second to eventual Ascot Gold Cup (G1) runner-up Kingfisher in the Saval Beg at Leopardstown.

Hyper, the 2-1 favorite, made a belated rally for third but was never a threat to the win. The Chad Brown trainee occupied the same slot in the Singspiel (G3) and Man o' War (G1) earlier this year and remains winless in four starts since returning from a lengthy spell.

The remainder of the field were exposed as lacking sufficient class against the European contingent, finishing well back. Among these were Louisville H. (G3) winner Xtra Luck, San Juan Capistrano (G3) victor Crucero, and the well-backed Stars and Stripes (G3) runner-up Roman Approval.

(Lucky Speed photo: Four Footed Fotos)