Mr Speaker retired to stud at Lane's End

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

November 29th, 2015

Mr Speaker’s career has ended just about a month after John Boehner’s. In a press release issued Sunday afternoon (posted in a slightly edited form below), it was announced that the Phipps blueblood was retired to stud at Lane’s End.

While I shouldn’t have been surprised after his subpar performance in the November 14 Red Smith H. (G3) at Aqueduct, where he faded to fifth, I had hoped (read: expected) that he’d stay in training. Of course, because he’s a fashionably bred Grade 1-winning millionaire, you could say that he’s already taken care of his stallion appeal.

Yet precisely because Mr Speaker flashed real ability on occasion, I’m sorry that he won’t have any more chances to pad his resume. The Shug McGaughey pupil promised quite a bit over the winter from two to three. A smart winner of the Dania Beach (G3) at Gulfstream in late 2013, he was positively imperious in the 2014 Lexington (G3) over Keeneland’s old Polytrack. And even though he flopped when trying dirt, first in the Holy Bull (G2) and later in the Travers (G1), he could be forgiven in light of his turf prowess.

Mr Speaker chose a good occasion to deliver a career-best in the lucrative Belmont Derby Invitational (G1). I still don’t know how he got up in time to nab Aidan O’Brien’s jet-setting Adelaide, who went on to win both the Secretariat (G1) on Arlington Million Day and Australia’s famed Cox Plate (G1).

Unfortunately, consistency wasn't exactly Mr Speaker’s strong suit. (Insert political joke.) He teased us as recently as the September 19 Commonwealth Cup (G2) at Laurel, blitzing them while racking up a lofty 111 BRIS Late Pace rating. Finally, I thought, the Mr Speaker of the Belmont Derby is back! But it was a short-lived renaissance.

I’ll always have a sense that Mr Speaker didn’t quite live up to the early hopes he inspired on the racecourse. But in light of his glorious pedigree, he is eligible to pass on his talent to his offspring. In fact, he might be the type to sire runners better than he was. So maybe Mr Speaker can fulfill hopes after all.

Edited press release follows:

Grade 1 winner Mr. Speaker has been retired from racing and will stand stud at Lane’s End Farm for the 2016 season. A homebred for the Phipps Stable, Mr Speaker is by Pulpit out of the Unbridled mare, Salute, a daughter of champion Personal Ensign. He is the most accomplished son of Pulpit at stud with four graded stakes wins from two to four and over $1.2 million in earnings.

Mr Speaker broke his maiden at two in wire to wire fashion at Belmont prior to winning his graded stakes debut in the Dania Beach (G3). Mr Speaker followed up on that form with graded stakes wins at three including the Belmont Derby (G1), defeating a stellar field including multiple Grade/Group 1 winner Adelaide, UAE Derby (G2) winner Toast of New York and Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1)  winner Bobby’s Kitten on equal weights. He is coming off a successful four-year-old season having won the Commonwealth Cup (G2).

“We’re very fortunate to add a prospect like Mr Speaker to our roster. He, like our other new stallions this year is an outstanding individual,” said Will Farish.

Mr Speaker is from one of the last few crops of Pulpit, the most exciting sire line today. He is out of a daughter of Personal Ensign by Unbridled and therefore bred on the same cross as the best stallion in America, Tapit. Their pedigrees contain other similarities, being inbred to Mr. Prospector in the exact position and strains of In Reality in the first five generations. Further, Mr Speaker is inbred to the Phipps own Buckpasser who is a direct descendant of the foundation mare *La Troienne.  

“I’ve been very lucky to train for Mr. Phipps for a long time -- through that time I’ve trained most of this family. Mr Speaker has the same kind of class, quality and ability as the rest of that family. It’s remarkable how many good horses have developed from Personal Ensign,” Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey said.

Mr Speaker will stand for $10,000 as property of a syndicate.

Photo courtesy of Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club.