Trainer Shug McGaughey was enthusiastic about the work turned in by Mr Speaker on Sunday at Saratoga Race Course.
Preparing for a possible start in the $1.25 million Travers on Aug. 23, the 3-year-old Pulpit colt covered five furlongs over the main track in 1:01.99, galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.66.
“I was very impressed with the way he worked today,” McGaughey told the New York Racing Association. “I’m feeling more confident all the time. I thought his work today was exceptionally good. He’s progressing along very well up here.”
Mr Speaker’s workout was 13th fastest of 20 at that distance. His previous work, on Aug. 2, was a five-furlong breeze in :59.76. He has run both times in company.
The colt won the Grade I Belmont Derby on July 5 at the same distance as the Travers — 1 1⁄4 miles — but on grass instead of dirt. McGaughey said he will wait through one more work before deciding whether or not to try him in the Travers.
Fourth-place runner in the 2012 Kentucky Derby, New York-bred Went the Day Well ran in the third race and sat just off the pace set by Goodtolook, waiting in third off the back hip of eventual runner-up Saturday Appeal. Entering the stretch, though, jockey John Velazquez had no more horse under him, and Went the Day Well faded back to fifth in the six-horse optional claiming race.
Went the Day Well also ran the Preakness in 2012. He then took more than nine months off before coming back in a state-bred optional claimer at Aqueduct, in which he was fifth. He then was brought back to the races this July after a 16-month break, finishing a distant fifth in an optional claimer at Delaware Park.
The saddlecloths for each horse were purple — the color associated with cancer awareness — and the race was named for Dominic Galluscio, who died of pancreatic cancer in March.
BROWN WITH TWO
Mechanicville’s Chad Brown will saddle the second and third choices in today’s feature race, the Tenski at a mile on the turf for 3-year-old fillies who have not won a graded stakes this year.
He has Sweet Acclaim and Hillhouse High. Sweet Acclaim placed in a 2-year-old stakes in England last year. Hillhouse High was third in the seven-furlong Duchess at Woodbine in her last start.
Christophe Clement’s Walk Close is the 5-2 favorite on the morning line.