Shirl's Speight sizzles in work; Kentucky Derby next?

Shirl's Speight sizzles in work; Kentucky Derby next?
Photo: Michael Burns

Most people likely did a double take when viewing the official time for Shirl's Speight's five-furlong drill at Woodbine Thursday morning. Roger Attfield's undefeated Speightstown colt stopped the clocks in a sizzling :57.00.

RELATED – Tiz the Law's opponents talk Kentucky Derby matchup

Winner of the G3 Marine Stakes at Woodbine last time out, Shirl's Speight is a late bloomer on the Kentucky Derby Trail, but he could have as much upside as any Derby contender.

Not only did he work fast, he also was very professional in this work. He sat behind horses early, took dirt in his face and finished with a flourish. Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield was quite pleased with his colt's work.

"We wanted to sit behind a couple of other horses to get some dirt in his face and see how he reacted to that. He handled that quite well, it didn't bother him one bit," Attfield said.

Jockey Rafael Hernandez, who was aboard for today's work, compared his colt to a sports car.

"The gears are like a sports car. He puts you where you want him. It's like when you have a brake and gas and when you turn for home and hits the next gear he takes you back in the saddle."

Though Shirl's Speight does not have any Kentucky Derby points, he would have the opportunity to run if fewer than 20 runners with points are inclined to run. That scenario is looking more likely by the day after Tiz the Law stamped himself as a heavy favorite with his impressive Travers win. Check out the latest Derby probables here.

Attfield is mulling over the decision to test the Kentucky Derby waters with Shirl's Speight for his third lifetime start. He is set to run on the first Saturday in September regardless but could opt for the Pat Day Mile. He certainly would add intrigue to the Derby field, and after today's work, the buzz is building around this potential star.

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