Speaking Scout fired a big shot in the lane and came away a Grade 1 stakes winner for the first time when he clicked by three-quarters of a length Saturday at Del Mar in the 82nd edition of the $400,000 Hollywood Derby.
Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, the Mr. Speaker gelding outran nine other 3-year-olds in the 1 1/8-mile grass headliner on a three-stakes day at the seaside oval and earned a first prize of $240,000. It was his fourth career victory and pushed his bankroll up to $500,666.
The Kentucky-bred, shipped west by trainer H. Graham Motion in October, had run second in the Twilight Derby (G2) at Santa Anita on Oct. 29 under Juan Hernandez. Del Mar’s leading rider was on him again Saturday and piloted him nicely through the big field to finish with a strong, late rush. Final time for the nine panels was 1:49.34.
Finishing second was Spycatcher, who had just a nose on the 19-10 favorite Wit.
The winner paid $18.40, $8.40 and $5.60 across the board. Spycatcher returned $25.80 and $10.20, and Wit paid $3.40 to show.
Earlier on the card, New York invader Liguria captured the $103,500 Jimmy Durante Stakes with a fine stretch move under Flavien Prat to prove 2 1/4 lengths the best. The daughter of War Front, trained by Chad Brown, bested 11 rivals in the Grade 3, one-mile turf test, running the distance in 1:36.16. She paid $4.80 as the 7-5 favorite.
Liguria earned a winner’s share of $60,000 for her second win in her third start and she now sports earnings of $123,250.
The filly is owned by Alpha Delta Stables of Jonathan Clay of Palm Beach, FL.
Del Mar’s final day of racing will be Sunday with a nine-race card starting at 3:30 p.m. EST. The track’s Pick Six single-ticket jackpot wager will offer a mandatory payout on closing day. There will be a carryover of $513,149 in the pot to start the day, and the final pool should easily be worth several millions of dollars.