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Apr 25, 2014

Mr Speaker rallies to capture Lexington Stakes


Lexington, KY ( - Post time favorite Mr Speaker, ridden by Jose Lezcano, surged through the stretch Saturday to win the $200,000 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland in a final chance to acquire points for the 140th Kentucky Derby.

The 1 1/16-mile Lexington Stakes offered 17 points with 10 going to the winner as part of the Kentucky Derby points system.

Trained by Shug McGaughey, Mr Speaker, 2-1 in the wagering, broke from the inside post in the eight-horse field. The colt, owned by Phipps Stable, stalked the pace being set by Solitary Ranger and 4-1 third pick Supermonic.

Lezcano had his mount within a couple lengths of the lead on the final turn and was able to put the 3-year-old to the outside turning for home. Mr Speaker drew even with the leaders at the furlong pole and went right by them down the stretch.

Mr Speaker cruised to a four-length victory over 5-2 second choice Divine Oath with Supermonic holding on for third.

"I thought Jose (Lezcano) rode a great race on him," McGaughey said. "He had him in the slot the whole way there and was just kind of waiting. I saw him reach up and grab him again around the 4 1/2 (furlong) pole, and I thought, 'Well, he's got a lot of horse. We'll just see what happens when the running starts.'"

Completing the order of finish were Ami's Holiday, Solitary Ranger, Poker Player, Z Lucky and Ride Away. Dynamic Impact was scratched to run in the Illinois Derby. Global Strike and Morning Calm were also scratched.

The time for the Lexington was 1:44.18 on Keeneland's synthetic main track.

Mr Speaker notched his first win of the year and added $120,000 to his earnings. Racing primarily on grass, the colt has won three of seven starts for $269,880.

The 3-year-old broke his maiden in his third career start last October at Belmont Park and two months later at Gulfstream Park captured the Dania Beach Stakes on turf. This year he finished seventh on Gulfstream's main track to Cairo Prince in the Holy Bull Stakes and last month was second in the Palm Beach Stakes on Gulfstream's grass course.

"This horse we've been high on. I brought him here with the idea of running in the Blue Grass (April 12), but when it came up a big field I decided not to," said McGaughey. "Racing Secretary (Ben Huffman) told me last week they were going to have six (in this race) so I decided to go and it ended up with 11."

McGaughey won last year's Kentucky Derby with Orb for Stuart Janney III and Ogden Phipps.

Mr Speaker returned $6.20, $3.40 and $2.40. Divine Oath paid $3.80 and $2.80, and Supermonic paid $3.00 to show.

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