Speaker’s Corner withstood multiple challenges, including a late one from 13-10 favorite Fearless, to post a front-running victory in the $150,000 Fred. W. Hooper S. (G3) over one mile at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.
Sent off as the 3-2 second choice in the one-mile heat, Speaker’s Corner set a strong pace of :22.13, :44.82, and 1:09.55, turned back several rivals turning for home, and then held off Fearless to win by 1 1/4 lengths for owner-breeder Godolphin, trainer Bill Mott, and jockey Junior Alvarado.
“We didn’t really plan being on the lead, but Junior said he crossed the chute traveling easy,” Mott said. “He was in between horses and didn’t want to get jammed up, so he let him go on. It worked out very well.”
Speaker’s Corner covered the course over a fast track in 1:35.26 and paid $5. Fearless finished 9 1/4 lengths clear of third-placed Officiating, with Girolamo’s Attack 2 1/2 lengths behind in fourth.
A four-year-old Kentucky-bred, Speaker’s Corner is developing into a formidable one-turn performer. Aside from his debut, in which he ran third as an odds-on favorite, he’s won all four of his other starts around turn, generally by wide margins.
Speaker’s Corner was tested twice around two turns last year to no avail, finishing a distant sixth in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) and second in the Discovery S., both over nine furlongs. His record currently sits at 7-4-1-1, $286,850.
By Street Sense, Speaker’s Corner is out of Tyburn Brook, a daughter of Bernardini and Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) winner Round Pond. Also hailing from this female family are European classic winners Black Minnaloushe and Pennekamp, and the multiple Grade 1 winner Nasr El Arab.
Inside Information S. (G2)
Just One Time didn’t show her customary speed from the start in the $200,000 Inside Information S. (G2), but her talent was good enough to get the job done from off the pace under Joel Rosario.
Debuting in the seven-furlong Inside Information for new trainer Brad Cox, Just One Time rallied very wide around the far turn, seized the lead inside the furlong while racing out in the middle of the track and staved off a bid from Four Graces to win by three parts of a length.
Owned by Warriors Reward and Commonwealth New Era Racing, Just One Time finished up in 1:23.81 and returned $5 as the 3-2 favorite. Four Graces had a 2 1/2-length margin on Jakarta. Starship Nala finished fourth.
This was the first open stakes win for Just One Time, who was last seen capturing the Oct. 23 New Start S. at Penn National for Pennsylvania-breds. She captured another state-bred stakes, the Malvern Rose, at Presque Isle Downs last July. The four-year-old filly has now won five of six starts for earnings of $289,595.
Bred by Warriors Reward, Just One Time is by Not This Time and out of Ida Clark, a Speightstown mare who’s also reared the stakes-winning Black Stetson.
W.L. McKnight S. (G3)
Abaan improved his stakes record to 2-for-2 with a dominating performance in the $200,000 W.L. McKnight S. (G3) on the turf for owners Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Alex Daigneault.
Exiting a 4 1/2-length score in the two-mile H. Allen Jerkens S. on Christmas Eve, Abaan reeled in long-time leader King Cause on the third and final turn of the 1 1/2-mile McKnight, pulled away from the field in upper stretch and powered home a two-length winner under Luis Saez. The final time on firm ground was 2:29.53.
Abaan ($5), the 3-2 favorite, finished ahead of Temple, who had three parts of a length on Media Blitz. Sole Volante finished fourth.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Abaan was 0-for-4 on dirt to start his career, but has now won four of six on the grass. The five-year-old gelding has now earned $344,870.
“He’s been invited to Saudi for the long race there. We nominated to Dubai. We’ll see how he comes out of it and I’ll talk to [the owners] and we’ll come up with a game plan,” Pletcher said. “He’s doing so well here at Gulfstream, there’s another option or two here. There are some big prizes we’ll have to take a look at.”
Bred in Kentucky by Rosilyn Polan, Abaan is by Will Take Charge and out of the stakes-placed Anchorage, by Tapit. This female family has produced champion turf mare Forever Together and the Grade 2-winning sire Broken Vow.
La Prevoyante S. (G3)
Trainer Christophe Clement saddled the top two finishers in the $175,000 La Prevoyante S. (G3), Beautiful Lover and Sorrel, both of whom passed even-money favorite and long-time leader Always Shopping in the final strides of the 12-furlong grass test for fillies and mares.
Under Joel Rosario, Beautiful Lover was a ground-saving third most of the way, angled out in upper stretch to take aim at Always Shopping and surged ahead to win by a neck from her late-running stablemate. Always Shopping held third by a neck over 25-1 chance Scarabea.
Owned by Moyglare Stud, Beautiful Lover returned $10.20 as the 4-1 second choice. The final time was 2:30.49.
This was the first graded stakes win for Beautiful Lover, whose lone prior black-type score came in the 2019 Boiling Springs S. at Monmouth Park. The six-year-old has placed in six other stakes, including the 2020 editions of the Hillsborough (G2) and Matchmaker (G3). Her record now stands at 16-5-4-2, $464,550.
“We always felt she was good enough to win a graded stakes somewhere. I’m delighted she’s done it now,” said Clement, who was winning the La Prevoyante for a sixth time.
Bred in Florida by Thomas Coleman, Beautiful Lover is an Arch half-sister to Grade 2 winner Zivo. Both were reared by American Skipper, a daughter of Quiet American.