One-Turn Specialist Speaker’s Corner ‘Bigger And Stronger’ Ahead Of Grade 1 Carter

Godolphin’s Speaker’s Corner appears to have found his niche at the one-turn graded stakes level and will carry winning form into the Grade 1, $300,000 Carter Handicap presented by NYRA Bets on April 9 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the 4-year-old son of Street Sense will arrive at the historic seven-furlong sprint off two sharp victories at Gulfstream Park going a one-turn mile. Five weeks following a triumphant seasonal debut in the Grade 3 Fred Hooper on Jan. 29, he captured the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Mile in similar frontrunning fashion.

Speaker’s Corner made his stakes and two-turn debut in the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby in September, finishing a distant sixth. He ran a career-best 109 Beyer in an allowance optional claimer one month later at Belmont Park, which he won by 6 3/4 lengths. His following effort, a second in the nine-furlong Discovery at Aqueduct, prompted his connections to cut back and focus on one-turn races.

“He showed plenty last year. We tried stretching him out, but it wasn’t really what he wanted to do,” said Godolphin bloodstock director Michael Banahan. “We got him back out to one-turn miles and he was impressive in both of those. That’s what it looks like he wants to do.”

A sharp Belmont maiden special weight victory in October 2020 put Speaker’s Corner on the radar, besting subsequent stakes winners Caddo River, Greatest Honour and Miles D.

Sidelined until the following August, Speaker’s Corner returned to action with vigor when defeating winners by 5 1/4 lengths going seven furlongs at Saratoga Race Course. The victory garnered a 101 Beyer – his first of five triple-digit speed figures.

“We kept having small problems that came up and we had to take our time with him,” Banahan recalled. “When we saw those horses in his maiden do so well, we were excited to see what he could do.”

Speaker’s Corner sports a record of 8-5-1-1 with earnings in excess of $400,000. His dam Tyburn Brook, by Bernardini, is out of 2006 Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Round Pond.

Banahan said Speaker’s Corner has matured.

“He’s a bigger and stronger version of himself,” Banahan said. “Even as a foal and as a yearling, we always liked him on the farm. He’s out of an unraced mare but has a very good pedigree. Once he went to Florida to get pre-trained, he showed plenty of talent. When he was sent to Bill, he said the same, so we were always hopeful of him.”

Banahan also spoke of Speaker’s Corner’s two-time winning stable mate Nostalgic, who is slated to return to New York for the Grade 2, $400,000 Gazelle, which offers 100-40-20-10 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points to the top-four finishers.

The Medaglia d’Oro bay was a 7 3/4-length winner of her career debut in October at Belmont Park followed by a fourth in the Grade 2 Demoiselle on December 4 at the Big A.

A strong turf work in January at Payson Park gave her connections confidence to try the Grade 3 Sweetest Chant on February 5 at Gulfstream, finishing a distant ninth as the lukewarm favorite. One month later, Nostalgic recaptured her winning form when defeating winners going a two-turn 1 1/16 miles over the Gulfstream main track.

“We like the distance and the timing of the Gazelle,” Banahan said. “She broke her maiden nicely and ran OK in the Demoiselle, but her last race gave us some encouragement.”

Godolphin will eye their fifth Gazelle victory following past success with Imperial Gesture [2002], Music Note [2008], Flashing [2009] and Dance Card [2012]. Nostalgic, a Kentucky homebred, is out of the stakes-placed Tapit mare Been Here Before, whose dam Connie Belle is a half-sister to 2006 Wood Memorial winner Bob and John.

The post One-Turn Specialist Speaker’s Corner ‘Bigger And Stronger’ Ahead Of Grade 1 Carter appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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