BREEDERS’ CUP RECAPS
Speightstown clearly the best in Sprint
Trainer Todd Pletcher traveled to Lone Star Park on Saturday without having
ever captured a Breeders’ Cup race. By the time the day ended, the conditioner
had added his name to those who’ve trained Breeders’ Cup winners, doing so with
his first two starters on the card. The second of those two, SPEIGHTSTOWN (Gone West),
utilized a stalking position to score by 1 1/4 lengths in the $1,060,000
Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).
Teaming up with regular rider John
Velazquez, who was aboard Pletcher’s first winner, Breeders’ Cup
Distaff (G1) victress Ashado (Saint Ballado), Speightstown was
never more than one length off the lead. In a field packed with
closers, the chestnut finished the best, stopping the clock in
1:08 for six fast track furlongs.
Content to track pacesetters Abbondanza (Alphabet Soup) and
Gold Storm (Seeking the Gold) through opening fractions of :21
1/5 for the quarter-mile and :43 2/5 for the half, the Pletcher
trainee slipped though at the top of the stretch, getting
five furlongs in :55 2/5. He then lead a four-horse charge to the
wire, holding Kela (Numerous), My Cousin Matt (Matty G) and
Bwana Charlie (Indian Charlie) at bay. Only 3 1/4 lengths
separated the top four finishers.
“I had to take an advantage when the hole was
there,” Velazquez said. “When I had the hole, I had to
squeeze him in there. From then on, it was all him. I think he’s
the best sprinter in America.”
The close second-choice at 7-2 in the field of 14,
Speightstown rewarded his backers with $9.40, $5.20, and $4. Kela
came next, giving back $5 and $4 at 4-1 while completing the
$41.60 exacta. My Cousin Matt, the 60-1 longshot, held third,
returning $15 for the show and finishing a generous $2,684.20
trifecta. Bwana Charlie polished off the 2-5-12-1 superfecta worth
Completing the order of finish were Cajun Beat (Grand Slam),
Clock Stopper (Gilded Time), Champali (Glitterman), Pt’s Grey
Eagle (Pleasant Tap), Gold Storm, Midas Eyes (Touch Gold),
Abbondanza, Our New Recruit (Alphabet Soup) and Cuvee (Carson
Bred in the Bluegrass state by Aaron and Marie Jones,
Speightstown was purchased for $2 million by owners Eugene and
Laura Melnyk at the Keeneland July Yearling Sale. He has now joined the
millionaire club with this victory, tallying earnings of
$1,258,256 to go along with an overall record of 16-10-2-2. His wins include the
Churchill Downs H. (G2), True North Breeders’ Cup H. (G2) and Alfred G.
Vanderbilt H. (G2), and he also placed in the Vosburgh S.(G1).
The chestnut six-year-old is the first registered foal out of Canadian
champion Silken Cat (Storm Cat) and has an unnamed yearling half-brother by Saint Ballado.