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Mr Speaker Confirmed for Travers (Video)

Phipps Stable's Mr Speaker, winner of the Grade 1 Belmont Derby Invitational on the turf in his most recent start, has been confirmed for the Grade 1 Travers on the dirt after breezing four furlongs in 48.67 seconds Sunday on the main track at Saratoga Race Course.

The $1.25 million Travers for 3-year-olds will be contested this Saturday at 1 ¼ miles on the dirt.

Going in company with Ragtime, Mr Speaker began the work racing one length behind and to the outside of his workmate before drawing on even terms inside the three-eighths pole. The two ran in tandem down the stretch and hit the wire as one before Mr Speaker powered clear under exercise rider Lena Lorieul during the gallop-out.

"I thought he worked very well this morning, exactly the way I wanted him to go," said Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. "He did it very easily and galloped out very strong. If he comes out of it good and has a good week, then I guess we'll go [to the Travers]."

Mr Speaker, a son of Pulpit and a grandson of Hall of Famer Personal Ensign, won the Belmont Derby, a 1 ¼-mile turf race on July 5, by a neck over Adelaide, who on Saturday won the Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington Park. On Friday, Belmont Derby fourth-place finisher Gailo Chop won a Group 2 race at Deauville in France.

Mr Speaker also won the Grade 3 Lexington on a synthetic surface in April at Keeneland. In his lone dirt start, he was seventh in the Grade 2 Holy Bull in January at Gulfstream Park. He has been training on dirt at Saratoga since the Belmont Derby.

"I just wanted to see him repeat what he's done up here all summer [in his workout today]," said McGaughey. "I think he repeated it. I thought he worked very well, finished up well, did it all within himself."

McGaughey said he knows Mr Speaker has the class to be competitive in the Travers and that his performance primarily will depend on how he handles the dirt.

"It's just a matter of whether he takes to the dirt or not," said McGaughey. "He'll be fine if he takes to the dirt. You never know on the dirt when you turn their head loose and ask them run what they're going to do or if the dirt gets to hitting him. I don't think that will be a problem, but sometimes horses that like the grass when you turn their head loose get to scrambling a little bit. If he takes to it and does fine, I think we'll be in the ballgame."


 

 

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