It didn’t long for Speaking to state his case to repeat as New Jersey’s champion sprinter.
Honored by the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association of New Jersey as last year’s top state-bred sprinter and champion 3-year-old male, Speaking began making his case for more accolades this year with a four-length romp in Sunday’s $106,000 New Jersey Breeders’ Handicap during the New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival at Monmouth Park.
Speaking, a 4-year-old son of Mr Speaker owned and bred by Holly Crest Farm, it marked the second straight year he has won the N.J. Breeders’ Handicap. The victory was his sixth in 14 career starts and came following a layoff of 98 days.
“I wasn’t worried about the layoff because he has been working so well,” said winning trainer Eddie Owens. “I was more worried about running him without Lasix. I knew if he broke good, which he did, they were going to have a problem with him. He’s very fast. If anyone in the race broke with him they were going to have problems.
“He’s a very nice horse. I think he’s one of the best sprinters in the country when he’s right.”
Ridden by Jairo Rendon, Speaking broke quickly from the rail and shook off prolonged pressure from Bustin Loose through an opening quarter of :21.89 and a first half of :44.81.
A discouraged Bustin Loose soon gave way, leaving Speaking without a challenger. Pogi finished second, 1¼ lengths ahead of No Cents.
Speaking paid $7.40 to win. The winning time for the six furlongs was 1:10.86.
“The plan was to get him out there, especially being on the rail,” said Rendon. “I didn’t want there to be too much pressure on him. He got out good. I didn’t have to use him to get the lead, which was good. He didn’t use too much energy to make the lead. (Bustin Loose) tried to stay with him early but I could see he (jockey Jose Ferrer) was using his horse and I wasn’t using my horse so I wasn’t worried about that.”
Now 2-for-3 this year, having won the John J. Reilly Handicap in his last start on May 21, Owens said he plans to give Speaking time off until January.