Shirl's Speight Upsets Maker's Mile

Shirl's SpeightCoady

Dispatched at 9-1 despite entering on a two-race win streak, 'TDN Rising Star' Shirl's Speight (Speightstown) sling-shotted his way to his first top-level score in Keeneland's GI Maker's Mile S. Friday afternoon.

Away in good order, the Fipke homebred bided his time in second last, running off the fence, as GI Shoemaker Mile winner and last out GI Breeders' Cup Mile runner-up Smooth Like Strait (Midnight Lute) dictated terms, putting up early splits of :24.95 and :49.63. Inching up a bit on the backstretch run, Shirl's Speight still had plenty left to do at the top of the lane as Smooth Like Straight valiantly tried to fend off heavily favored Juddmonte import Masen (GB) (Kingman {GB}). Racing way out in the center of the course, Shirl's Speight unleashed a furious rally, gobbling up ground late to nail Masen (GB) on the line.

“He sort of lost his way there after winning his first two starts,” winning trainer Roger Attfield said. “He's a very quick horse and he won those races all on the lead, easily. He didn't really gain any experience out of it. And then he had suspensory problems and we put him away for a while–quite a while–and I appreciate Mr. Fipke giving him that amount of time. They need it when they have that kind of injury.”

He continued, “We brought him back and he's run very well for me. In his last race, he was shut off and came with one big run, and I realized that's probably the way this horse really wants to run. So when I saw he was 50-1 on the morning line, I said, 'I can't be that far wrong.' I won this race with his grandfather [broodmare sire Perfect Soul (Ire) in 2004], and this is a better miler than he was. There was a lot of speed in the race and [Luis] Saez gave him a great ride. He let him do that and he came down the stretch fast, didn't he? I didn't know whether he was going to make it.”

“I was watching the replays and Roger called me,” Saez said. “He said the best way is to come from behind, so I decided to take him back right when we broke. It looked like that was the best decision to make. In the end, he was coming. He ran pretty hard and got there in time.”

Following his 'TDN Rising Star'-worthy debut victory with a win in the 2020 GIII Marine S., Shirl's Speight was off the board in his two starts in 2021, first in a main track sprint at Gulfstream in January and then in a two-turn off-the-turf event there in December. Returning to winning ways when getting back on grass at Tampa Jan. 15 of this year, the homebred rallied to victory in the GIII Tampa Bay S. last out Feb. 5.

Pedigree Notes:

Shirl's Speight is the 24th worldwide Grade I winner (23 NH and 1 SH) for his timeless sire Speightstown. He is also one 63 worldwide graded winners (61 NH & 2 SH) and 128 worldwide black-type scorers (126 NH & 2 SH) by that WinStar stalwart. The winner is just the second top-level scorer out of a daughter of Perfect Soul and one of three graded winners for that broodmare sire.

Charles Fipke purchased Shirl's Speight's Grade I-winning second dam Lady Shirl (That's a Nice) for $485,000 in foal to Theatrical (Ire) at the 2005 KEENOV sale. She had already produced MGISW Shakespeare (Theatrical {Ire}) and SW & MGSP Fantastic Shirl (Fantastic Light) prior to that auction and the foal she was carrying at the time turned out to be MGSW Lady Shakespeare. She produced one of Speightstown's other Grade I winners Lady Speightspeare, who was also a Canadian champion.

Shirl's Speight's dam Perfect Shirl captured the GI Breeders' Cup F/M Turf S. for Fipke and Attfield back in 2011. She has another black-type runner by Speightstown in GSP Speightstown Shirl. The 15-year-old mare did not have foals in 2019 or 2020, but had a More Than Ready filly in 2021 and a Speightstown filly Apr. 2 of this year.


MAKER'S MARK MILE S.-GI, $577,000, Keeneland, 4-15, 4yo/up, 1mT, 1:35.93, gd.
1–SHIRL'S SPEIGHT, 123, h, 5, by Speightstown
                1st Dam: Perfect Shirl (GISW-USA, GSP-Can, $1,390,729), by Perfect Soul (Ire)
                2nd Dam: Lady Shirl, by That's a Nice
                3rd Dam: Canonization, by Native Heritage
'TDN Rising Star' 1ST GRADE I WIN. O/B-Charles Fipke (KY); T-Roger L. Attfield; J-Luis Saez. $358,050. Lifetime Record: 9-5-0-1, $566,665. *Full to Speightstown Shirl, GSP, $105,031. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating: B.
2–Masen (GB), 123, g, 4, Kingman (GB)–Continental Drift, by Smart Strike. 1ST G1 BLACK TYPE. O/B-Juddmonte Farms Ltd. (GB); T-Chad C. Brown. $96,250.
3–Smooth Like Strait, 123, h, 5, Midnight Lute–Smooth as Usual, by Flower Alley. O/B-Cannon Thoroughbreds, LLC (KY); T-Michael W. McCarthy. $57,750.
Margins: NO, NK, 3/4. Odds: 9.00, 1.80, 3.20.
Also Ran: Atone, Mira Mission, Count Again, Set Piece (GB), In Love (Brz). Scratched: Ivar (Brz), Public Sector (GB), Somelikeithotbrown. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.

Copy Article Link

Liked this article? Read more like this.

  1. Unbeaten Brightwork Preps For Keeneland's Opening Day
  2. Secretariat Exhibition To Visit Woodbine Racetrack And Keeneland Race Course In October
  3. Keeneland Breeder Spotlight: How Greg Goodman, A Good Texan, Became a Brilliant Kentuckian
  4. Trainer Of Next, Doug Cowans Joins The TDN Writers' Room Podcast
  5. GISW Lexitonian to Stand at Calumet for 2024

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.