Mr Speaker records first stakes win of 2015 in Commonwealth Cup

Profile Picture: James Scully

September 19th, 2015

Winner of the Belmont Derby (G1), Lexington (G3) and Dania Beach (G3) last year, Mr Speaker entered his 4yo season with solid expectations but went unplaced in his first two stakes attempts. The Phipps Stable homebred rebounded in the $250,000 Commonwealth Cup (G2) at Laurel Park Saturday, overhauling Legendary in midstretch en route to a 1 ¼-length decision.

Ridden by Jose Ortiz, the Shug McGaughey-trained son of Pulpit saved ground along the inside while closing stalking the pace in third as Cut to Order showed the way through opening splits in :24.98, :49.58 and 1:13.03 with Legendary tracking in second.

Legendary moved to the lead near the conclusion of the far turn as Mr Speaker angled to the outside for the stretch drive. Mr Speaker gained a slight advantage approaching the eighth pole and edged away in deep stretch, completing the 1 1/8-mile trip on firm turf in 1:47.77.

The winner was off as the 2-1 second choice among seven rivals. Legendary easily held second, 2 ½ lengths clear of the late-running El Jefe Grande. It was another length back to 9-5 favorite Up With the Birds in fourth.

Bred in Kentucky, Mr Speaker has now earned $1,220,044 from a 16-6-1-1 record. The dark bay colt appeared to have a bright future when capturing the Belmont Derby 14 months ago, but he concluded his sophomore campaign with unplaced efforts in the Travers (G1) and Hill Prince (G3) and opened 2015 with a fourth versus stakes rivals at Keeneland in April.

Mr Speaker followed with a disappointing seventh in the Fort Marcy (G3) but returned to the winner’s circle with an allowance/optional claiming tally at Belmont in mid-July. He was exiting a fast-closing fourth in the August 16 Sky Classic (G2) at Woodbine.

Out of the Grade 2-placed Unbridled mare Salute, the regally-bred Mr Speaker counts unbeaten champion and Broodmare of the Year Personal Esnisgn as his second maternal dam and hails from a black-type laced female family.

Mr Speaker photo courtesy of Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club