Mr Speaker Rallies for Commonwealth Cup Score
Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
Mr Speaker rolls to the win in the Commonwealth Cup Stakes.

Phipps Stables' homebred Mr Speaker   showed off his top-level class Sept. 19 with a clear score in the $250,000 Commonwealth Cup Stakes (gr. IIT) at Laurel Park. Watch Video

The 4-year-old Pulpit colt, with Jose Ortiz aboard, raced in third through most of the 1 1/8 mile turf test, angled out from the rail in the stretch, and rallied past Legendary to win by 1 1/4 lengths.

Legendary took control from pacesetter Cut to Order at the top of the stretch after the frontrunner set moderate fractions of :24.98, :49.58, and 1:13.03 through six furlongs. After saving ground, Ortiz found a clear path to the outside and surged to the wire in 1:47.77 for trainer Shug McGaughey.

The victory is Mr Speaker's first graded score since his win in the Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes (gr. IT) last year.

"Went into the first turn and I was in a beautiful position," Ortiz said. "I just got up along there, and when I let him run, by the quarter pole, he responded really well. By the three-eighths pole, I looked out and nobody was there. I knew I had a way out and I was confident in my horse."

The winner paid $6.40, $2.80, and $3.20 across the board. Legendary brought $3.60 and $3.20, while 18-1 longshot El Jefe Grande closed for third and delivered $4.40 to show.

Grade I winner and 9-5 favorite Up With the Birds made mild gains after trailing the field early to finish fourth, followed by Cut to Order, Talk Show Man, and Golden Glint, to complete the order of finish.

Bred in Kentucky, out of the Unbridled mare Salute, Mr Speaker now has a 6-1-1 record from 16 starts with more than $1.2 million in earnings.

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