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Mr Speaker Remains Possible for Travers

A graded stakes winner on turf and synthetics, Mr Speaker tuned up for a possible start in the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers with a five-furlong work over the main track on Sunday.

 

Working in company, the 3-year-old Pulpit colt was clocked in 1:01.99 for five furlongs, galloping out an extra furlong in 1:14.66 under regular exercise rider Lena Lorieul.

 

"I was very impressed with the way he worked today," Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said of the Phipps Stable homebred. "I'm feeling more confident all the time. I thought his work today was exceptionally good. He's progressing along very well up here."

 

Sunday's work ranked 13th of 20 horses at the distance and was the fourth for Mr Speaker at Saratoga, all on dirt. It followed a five-furlong move in 59.76 seconds on August 2. Each of the last two have come in company.

 

"He went fast the last time," said McGaughey. "Today I wanted him to go in 1:01, and he went in 1:01 and a couple. I thought it was good. He finished up good and galloped out really strong. I was pleased with what I saw."

 

Mr Speaker won the Grade 1, $1.25 million Belmont Derby Invitational on July 5, run over the Belmont Park turf at the Travers' 1 ¼-mile distance. This year, Mr Speaker also captured the Grade 3 Dania Beach on grass at Gulfstream Park and the Grade 3 Lexington on Keeneland's all-weather track.

 

In his lone dirt start, Mr Speaker ran seventh in the Grade 2 Holy Bull on January 25. He will have one more breeze for McGaughey.

 

"We'll see how he comes out of his work, see how he works next weekend, and then I'll make up my mind," he said. "I'm not ready to commit myself one way or the other, but I'm kind of getting excited."

 

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