Speaktomeofsummer looks to continue good season in $500K Saratoga Oaks Invitational
by Keith McCalmont
Waterford Stable's Speaktomeofsummer, last out winner of the Grade 2 Lake Placid at the Spa, will look to continue her winning ways in Sunday's $500,000 Saratoga Oaks Invitational at Saratoga Race Course.
The Saratoga Oaks was initiated last year as part of the New York Racing Association's Turf Triple series to showcase the country's best 3-year-old filly turf runners, joining the Belmont Oaks and the Jockey Club Oaks. Contested as the middle jewel of the series last year following the Belmont Oaks, the Saratoga Oaks, held at 1 3/16 miles on the Mellon turf course, will be the first leg of the 2020 Turf Triple for females.
Trained by Christophe Clement, the dark bay daughter of Summer Front has won 3-of-5 career starts. Following a second-out graduation on the turf at Monmouth Park, Speaktomeofsummer rallied from ninth to win the Chelsey Flower, a one-mile test on the Big A turf, by two lengths.
Last out, traveling nine furlongs for the first time in the Lake Placid, Speaktomeofsummer split rivals down the lane and fought out a game head score over Saratoga Oaks-rival Stunning Sky.
Speaktomeofsummer has breezed twice on the Oklahoma training turf following the Lake Placid, including a half-mile effort in 50 flat on August 9. Clement said the filly is in good order.
"The filly is doing well and has been training forwardly from her last race," said Clement. "She won well last time and got a very good ride from Joel Rosario, who will stay on her. It's an extra sixteenth of a mile which I hope won't be a problem. I'm not sure about that, but I guess we will find out."
Clement said the filly's vigor down the lane was reminiscent of her fighting spirit to capture the Chelsey Flower.
"Even as a 2-year-old, she won a stakes coming from way out of it and I thought she was very game. I think she's a nice horse - but is she nice or very nice? We'll find out on Sunday," said Clement.
Clement trained Speaktomeofsummer's sire to a sparkling career that included eight wins from 23 starts and more than $1 million in purse earnings. The multiple graded-stakes winning Summer Front now stands at Airdrie Stud and has enjoyed early success, including Grade 2-winner Ete Indien.
"I love Summer Front. He belonged to Mr. Moore of Waterford Farm who owns this filly. He's doing very well as a sire and it's very meaningful for the filly to do well because it's more than just the filly herself," said Clement. "Summer Front was a top class miler to a mile and an eighth. He was very versatile and he was a good horse from age 2 to 5. He lasted."
Clement said Speaktomeofsummer should be able to stretch her talents out to a mile and three sixteenths on Sunday.
"I think so, but you never know until you try," said Clement. "It's a mile and three sixteenths and our other choice was to go to the mile and an eighth Del Mar Oaks, a Grade 1, but that's a long way to travel for a sixteenth of a mile."
Rosario retains the mount aboard Speaktomeofsummer from the inside post.
Allen Stable's Enola Gay earned a career-best 88 Beyer Speed Figure when making the grade off an eight-month layoff last out in the Grade 2 Appalachian on July 11 at Keeneland. Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, the Uncle Mo bay was a winner at first asking on the undulating Kentucky Downs turf in a key 6 ½-furlong maiden sprint in which the second and third-place finishers both returned to graduate next out.
Enola Gay will stretch out in distance for the Saratoga Oaks and McGaughey is confident the filly is up to the task.
"It's a good spot for her and I think she'll run that far," said McGaughey. "I think she got stronger and got a bit more mentally mature with the time off. I went ahead and took a shot with her down there at Keeneland because she had trained so well. I thought it would be a good place to give her a chance."
Jose Ortiz will pilot Enola Gay from post 2.
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott will saddle the dangerous duo of Godolphin's Antoinette and Juddmonte Farms' Ricetta.
The versatile Antoinette is graded-stakes placed on dirt and turf. The Hard Spun bay was a second-out graduate on the Belmont turf in October and followed up with an off-the-turf score in the Tepin on December 5.
Antoinette has finished third in all four starts this campaign, including dirt efforts in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks in March and the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks last out on July 18. She also added a third in the Grade 3 Wonder Again on the Belmont turf in June between those two efforts.
The well-bred Ricetta, a bay daughter of Camelot, is out of the Dansili mare Panzanella. Her second dam, Zenda, produced 2014 Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas winner Kingman, who now stands at Juddmonte's Banstead Manor Stud.
Ricetta won 2-of-3 starts for previous conditioner John Gosden and was a last-out third in the Group 3 Tattersalls Musidora on July 9 at York. Transferred to the care of Mott, Ricetta breezed a half-mile in 50.08 on August 10 on the Oklahoma training turf.
Hall of Famer John Velazquez will guide Antoinette from post 3, while Ricetta will exit post 6 under Hall of Famer Javier Castellano.
Paradise Farms Corp. and Parkland Thoroughbreds' Stunning Sky was a game second last out in the Grade 2 Lake Placid for trainer Mike Maker.
The Declaration of War bay, bred in Kentucky by Stephen J. McDonald, boasts a record of 8-2-1-1 with both scores coming at Gulfstream Park over the winter. She has made her last five starts in stakes company including a closing third in the Honey Ryder in May at Gulfstream and a rallying sixth in the Grade 3 Regret at Churchill in June ahead of the Lake Placid.
Irad Ortiz, Jr. retains the mount from post 4.
Rounding out the field are Key Biscayne [post 5, Manny Franco] and Queens Embrace [post 7, Tyler Gaffalione].
The Saratoga Oaks is slated as Race 9 on Sunday's 10-race card, which offers a first post of 1:10 p.m. Eastern. Saratoga Live will present daily television coverage of the 40-day summer meet on FOX Sports and MSG Networks. For the complete Saratoga Live broadcast schedule, and additional programming information, visit https://www.nyra.com/saratoga/racing/tv-schedule.
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