By Steve Sherack
Now that's a key race.
Subsequent runaway Smarty Jones S. winner and 'TDN Rising Star' Caddo River (Hard Spun) and authoritative GIII Holy Bull S. hero Greatest Honour (Tapit) were both defeated in second and third, respectively, in a salty, seven-furlong maiden special weight at Belmont Park last fall Oct. 11 (video).
“After a minor setback, he is back jogging and hacking at Payson Park with Bill Mott,” Godolphin President Jimmy Bell said. “We're very pleased with his progress and are looking forward to his return. He's back in full training and will allow his fitness to dictate when and where he will make his 3-year-old debut.”
The buzz of the Saratoga backstretch prior to debuting with a promising third-place finish as the 3-5 favorite following a slow start on closing day (Second Chances), Speaker's Corner ran to the hype second out.
He turned in a powerful, wide rally from fifth following a hot pace in his maiden breaker, clocking his final eighth in a field-best :12.54, good for an 80 Beyer Speed Figure.
Speaker's Corner was being aimed at the GII Remsen S. at Aqueduct Dec. 5–he last breezed a bullet five furlongs at Belmont Nov. 25–prior to heading to the sidelines.
“We always talk about key races, and I like to think his maiden race might have been the most formful and telling of all 2-year-old races run last year,” Bell said. “Caddo River ran off the screen in the Smarty Jones and Greatest Honour was most professional in his Holy Bull score. We're very hopeful that Speaker's Corner can add to the impressive accomplishments already performed by those two.”
Speaker's Corner is out of an unraced daughter of GI Breeders' Cup Distaff heroine Round Pond (Awesome Again), a $5.75-million purchase by Sheikh Mohammed's operation at the 2007 Fasig-Tipton November Sale.
This same Street Sense over Bernardini cross is also responsible for Godolphin's unbeaten GISW Maxfield, entered in Saturday's GIII Mineshaft S. at Fair Grounds, as well as last term's GIII Indiana/Oklahoma Derby winner Shared Sense.