Although cutting it closer than stablemate Decorated Invader did in Saturday’s National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (G2), Speaktomeofsummer captured Sunday’s $150,000 Lake Placid Stakes (G2) to complete a graded turf double at Saratoga for trainer Christophe Clement and jockey Joel Rosario.
Aside from his turf sophomores, Clement had a couple of juvenile winners to celebrate during a banner opening weekend at the Spa. Momos rolled by 6 1/2 lengths in Saturday’s opener on dirt to stamp himself as a Hopeful (G1) prospect, and in Sunday’s 5TH, Mischievous Dream scored at first asking on the turf.
Four races later in the Lake Placid, Waterford Stable’s Speaktomeofsummer responded to an equipment change – blinkers off – to rebound from her only turf loss. The first-crop daughter of Summer Front, who was himself a redoubtable campaigner for the same owner/trainer tandem, tried headgear in her seasonal reappearance in the June 20 Wonder Again (G3) at Belmont Park. Her resulting fourth was lackluster considering she’d won her first two turf attempts as a juvenile, a Monmouth Park maiden and the Nov. 3 Chelsey Flower at Aqueduct.
Speaktomeofsummer preferred her unobstructed view at Saratoga, but her passage early in the race wasn’t so clear. Breaking from the rail and nestled in a good spot behind the pace, the 9-2 chance had to check going into the first turn as Stunning Sky angled in, and she found herself shuffled further back in the pack.
Up front, Blame Debbie was attended by Lashara through fractions of :24.01, :49.03, and 1:13.66 on the firm inner turf. The pacesetter proved difficult to handle, however, and insisted on drifting out on the far turn and in the stretch.
Meanwhile, Stunning Sky, who had bagged the ideal tracking spot on the inside, seized the gift gap to put her head in front of the wayward Blame Debbie at the eighth-pole. But Speaktomeofsummer had advanced in the slipstream of her rival, and then dove between Stunning Sky and Blame Debbie to take command.
Just when Speaktomeofsummer appeared poised to edge away, Stunning Sky battled back to make it tight nearing the wire. Speaktomeofsummer had a head to spare over her nemesis in a final time of 1:49.44 for 1 1/8 miles.
Queens Embrace also followed the inviting inner path to rally from last for third. Key Biscayne was among those wider out in fourth, along with 2.15-1 favorite Cat’s Pajamas in fifth. Blame Debbie, the favorite’s stablemate from the Graham Motion barn, wound up sixth as jockey Jose Ortiz had to manage her retreat. Lashara and Mirabell Mei concluded the order of finish.
“I was really happy with the trip,” Rosario said. “I thought I would be a little closer, like Christophe told me, but everybody had the same idea to be up there. It looked like the first part was fast but they all got into their position, so I thought I’d let her be happy there and hopefully have a good run at the end.
“She was moving beautifully but when I passed the leader, she waited a little bit and the other horse (Stunning Sky) came back again. But she came on again and I was able to hold them off.”
Clement blamed himself for the blinkers experiment that backfired in the Wonder Again.
“I put the blinkers on (last time) because I thought she was a little lazy in her work in the morning before her last race. That’s what happens when trainers start to think too much.
“She had a great trip. Thank you, Joel. He’s riding great at the moment. The filly has trained well since the last race at Belmont.
“She’s by Summer Front which is a big deal for us as we trained him, plus he’s a young sire at the moment. He belongs to Mr. (Tom) Moore, who also owned Summer Front so it is even more meaningful.
“It was a pretty game last eighth of a mile. I’m delighted. She can do a mile to a mile an eighth for sure, but any further I don’t know. I would have to think about it.
“The last two days have been good. Let’s keep it going.”
If Speaktomeofsummer is anything like her parents, she will keep the momentum going. Bred by Brereton C. Jones in Kentucky, the dark bay is a product of his Airdrie Stud in more ways than one. That’s where her sire stands, and her dam, Grade 3 heroine Silver Reunion, is herself a Jones homebred. Silver Reunion is by Harlan’s Holiday, who entered stud at Airdrie, and out of Jones homebred Silver Comic, a Grade 2-winning daughter of Silver Hawk who spent his stud career at the historic Midway nursery.
Speaktomeofsummer is the best performer produced by Silver Reunion so far, after stakes scorer Proud Reunion and Grade 3-placed More Fun Again. This is also the family of English and Irish highweight sprinter Lucayan Prince, multiple Grade 3-winning sire Comic Strip, and turf sprint millionaire Morticia.
Purchased for $135,000 as a Keeneland November weanling, Speaktomeofsummer has already earned $175,500 from her 5-3-0-0 line.