Wesley Ward filly takes on boys in Speakeasy Stakes

Wesley Ward filly takes on boys in Speakeasy Stakes
Photo: Bob Mayberger/Eclipse Sportswire

Trainer Wesley Ward, regarded as one of the nation’s top trainers of 2-year-olds, will take on the boys with his talented Irish-bred filly Amanzi Yimpilo in Saturday’s $100,000 Speakeasy Stakes at Santa Anita. The Speakeasy, to be contested at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf, has attracted a wide-open field of nine, with one additional filly, the Peter Miller-trained Feathers, set to compete.

A first-out maiden special weight winn,er at Gulfstream Park June 10, Amanzi Yimpilo was subsequently a close third in an ungraded stakes at Saratoga Aug. 19 and she’ll be ridden by eastern-based Luis Saez for the first time in the Speakeasy.

Miller’s Wyfire, a rousing 3 1/2-length maiden winner going 5 1/2 furlongs on dirt Aug. 16 and the Richard Baltas-trained Commander Khai, an impressive gate-to-wire maiden winner on turf Sept. 4, also rate huge chances on Saturday.

The Speakeasy is a Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” Challenge Race qualifier, with the winner earning a fees-paid berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Keeneland on Nov. 6.

Amanzi Yimpilo

Owner:  Susan Moulton, Marc Detampel & CJ Thoroughbreds                 

Trainer:  Wesley Ward

A $300,000 Keeneland September yearling, this daughter of the Scat Daddy stallion No Nay Never, was off at 3-5 in her five furlong turf debut on June 10 and she breezed to a 2 ½ length win.  Subsequently third, beaten 3 1/2 lengths over a soft turf at Saratoga Aug. 19, she worked a half mile at Keeneland in 49.20 on Sept. 5 and another half here on Sept. 19 in 49.40. With Ward’s eyes fixed on the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland Nov. 6, look for a big effort.

Wyfire

Owner: Gary Barber                                      

Trainer: Peter Miller

Purchased privately by Barber following his big maiden win on dirt Aug. 16, Miller immediately made plans to run on turf in the Speakeasy and secured the services of top jock Flavien Prat.  A Kentucky-bred colt by the Smart Strike stallion Dominus, Wyfire appears poised for a huge effort in what will be his third career start and first try on grass.

Commander Khai

Owner: Calvin Nguyen                 

Trainer: Richard Baltas

Quick from the gate, this Kentucky-bred colt by Twirling Candy showed the way in his five furlong turf debut on Aug. 14, tiring a bit late to finish second by a half length.  Off at even money and ridden for the first time by Umberto Rispoli, he rocketed clear of his competition and never looked back in a 3 ¼ length maiden score going five furlongs on turf Sept. 4.  If he runs back to his last race, Commander Khai should be plenty tough in the Speakeasy.

2020 Speakeasy (LS)

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