Speaker’s Corner On 'A' Game, Passes Grade 1 Test In Carter - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Speaker’s Corner On ‘A’ Game, Passes Grade 1 Test In Carter

Speaker’s Corner winning the Grade 1 Carter at Aqueduct

Making his first appearance in a Grade 1 event since a distant sixth-place finish in last year's Pennsylvania Derby (G1), a streaking Speaker's Corner left no doubt that he is truly Grade 1 caliber in Saturday's $300,000 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Breaking from outermost post 8 with regular rider Junior Alvarado aboard, Speaker's Corner was able to sit in the clear in second as Reinvestment Risk was hustled through on the rail to gain control of the lead down the backstretch.

After an opening quarter-mile in a leisurely :23.17 over the fast main track, Speaker's Corner and Alvarado weren't content to let Reinvestment Risk gallop along on the front end and quickly took command of the race before hitting the half in :46.11. That early move proved to be decisive as Speaker's Corner stormed into the stretch and rolled home an easy 4 ½-length winner, finishing strongly to complete the seven furlongs in a sparkling 1:21.34.

“He is a horse who we have always been very high on,”  Alvarado said of the 4-year-old son of Street Sense, who is trained by Bill Mott. “We figured out what he wants to do. He's a very good miler. Today, we had a great trip, and he was there the whole way around. He was very much the best horse. He took the lead around the half-mile pole and after that, he was just doing his thing. He ran them off their feet early. He was traveling comfortably and was faster than the other horses. He gave me the same kick at seven-eighths as a mile. He's on his “A” game right now. He'll be a tough horse this year.”

The win was the third in a row for Speaker's Corner, a Godolphin homebred who is 6-for-9 overall with earnings that now stand at $572,130. He returned $3 as the prohibitive favorite.

Reinvestment Risk enjoyed some redemption of his own with a respectable second-place finish, 2 ½ lengths clear of a tough-luck Mind Control in third.

“I thought I was second-best today,” said Manny Franco, rider aboard Reinvestment Risk. “My horse ran really well. I just tried to find my spot there inside. I was in the right spot the whole way around. I was happy with the way he ran. He's really nice. The winner is in his prime right now, but I think my horse will improve after this race.”

It was another 2 ¾ lengths back to Green Light Go in fourth, who was followed home by Drafted, Bank On Shea, and First Captain.

Speaker's Corner might be seen next, it seems a possible date in the Grade 1, $1 million Hill n' Dale Metropolitan Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day on June 11 is in the cards.

“We've got to put that on the list of things,” said Mott. “That would be a prime target. We've squeezed him pretty good the way it is. We've come back five weeks, four weeks, so he's had his races fairly close together already.”

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