Joe Bravo parlayed a patient ride on Moyglare Stud's Irish homebred Speaking of Which into a commanding 1 1/2-length victory in the June 8 $200,000 Monmouth Stakes (gr. IIT) at Monmouth Park (VIDEO).
The 5-year-old son of Invincible Spirit—Suitably Discreet, by Mr. Prospector, got his third career graded/group stakes victory and picked up his first win since taking the Tropical Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Calder Casino & Race Course back on Dec. 7.
The 3-1 second choice in the field of 14 and trained by Christophe Clement, Speaking of Which was ridden in midfield through most of the 1 1/8-mile trip.
Hard Enough, coming into the race off a May 3 win in the Red Bank Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth, shot across the track soon after the break from the 13 post to take the early lead. Peace Sign Stable's son of Hard Spun , led the field through fractions of :23 2/5, :47 2/5,and :1:10 2/5.
As the field began to bunch up behind the leaders heading into the second turn, Bravo found room five paths from the rail to begin a furious rally. An eighth of a mile from the wire, Speaking of Which had the lead and was never seriously challenged, though Hangover Kid closed a lot of ground along the rail to finish second over Winning Cause, another half a length back. The final time was 1:46.32 on firm turf.
"I went over the race this morning with Christophe (trainer Clement)," said Bravo. "We wanted to sit close, but just off the pace. It worked out perfectly and we were able to sit the pocket right in behind. In this big field, it was all about getting the trip. Turning for home, we were able to split horses and he sure came running."
Favorite Lochte, the longshot winner of the Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. IT) in February, was caught wide early and never a factor while finishing 13th.
Speaking of Which paid $9.60, $5.40, and $4. Hangover Kid, trained by Jason Servis and coupled with Screenplay, paid $14.60 and $8.20, while Winning Cause paid $7.20. The $2 exacta paid $130.40, and the $2 trifecta paid $1,622.80.
Completing the order of finish were Guys Reward in fourth, followed by Screenplay, Finnegans Wake, Bad Debt, Dannhauser, Admiral Kitten , Hard Enough, Slim Shadey, Tetradrachm, Lochte, and Tricky Hat.