Lucky Speed Gets American St. Leger Win
Photo: Four Footed Fotos
Andrasch Starke celebrates the American St. Leger victory with Lucky Speed.
Lucky Speed saved all for the stretch run, surging from off the pace to collar Panama Hat (GB) in deep stretch and capture the $350,000 American St. Leger (gr. IIIT) Aug. 15 at Arlington International Racecourse. Watch Video
 
With Andrasch Starke aboard for trainer Peter Schiergen, Stall Hornoldendorf's 5-year-old runner showed he relished the longer distance as he edged to his first North American win while covering a 1 1/16-mile trip on firm turf in 2:46.50.
 
Team Valor International's Panama Hat, who rallied past Alpha KitalphaAz Ridge, and Roman Approval to lead into the stretch, was second so European-based horses filled the top two spots. Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Hyper, the 2-1 favorite,was third. 
 
Lucky Speed was making only his second North American start following his fourth in the Nijinsky Stakes (Can-II) July 19 at Woodbine. He halted a five-race winless stretch dating from his 2013 victory in the German Derby (Ger-I). With Saturday's victory, his record improves to 4-1-2 from 10 career starts.
 
"We knew he needed more distance and that's what he got today in the American St. Leger, he can handle the American track very well," Starke said. "I am so happy this is my first win in the United States and to win the St. Leger is amazing. It was the right conditions to bring him over here and I'm very happy."
 
With Lucky Speed settled in fifth and Panama Hat in fourth, Alpha Kitalpha set a solid pace tracked by Az Ridge about two lengths back while laying down fractions of :24.15, :48.79 and 1:12.38. As he weakened from his front-running efforts after seven furlongs, Az Ridge took charge on the turn but folded in stretch went Panama Ridge came calling. The latter could not fend off Lucky Speed, who went four wide into the stretch and closed to the win by three-quarters of a length.
 
Bred by Gestut Hof Ittlingen, Lucky Speed is out of the Monsun mare Lysuna.
 
Lucky Speed, the 3-1 second choice. paid $8, $4.80, and $3.20, and Panama Hat returned $8.20 and $4. Hyper paid $2.60 to show.
 
Roman Approval, third in the early running, lacked the necessary closing kick and was fourth, followed by Az Ridge, Xtra Luck, Crucero, Highball, and Alpha Kitalpha.
 
The Pizza Man, winner of the 2014 American St. Leger, was scratched to run in the Arlington Million (gr. I) later on the card. Calvados was a veterinarian's scratch.

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