When Mother Nature forced the $60,000 Pea Patch Overnight Stakes off the Ellis Park turf on July 9, it prevented Winchell Thoroughbreds’ homebred Speedometer from testing her improving form over a new surface.
What didn’t change, however, was the fact the daughter of Tapit continues to leave her would-be challengers battling for minor honors each time she has stepped in the starting gate this season.
The rain that soaked the Henderson, KY track Saturday did nothing to dull Speedometer’s budding brilliance as the Steve Asmussen-trainee ran off to a five-length victory in the 5 1/2-furlong Pea Patch Stakes, which was contested on the main track after all races were taken off the turf due to soggy conditions.
It took Speedometer some time to figure out the game with the chestnut distaffer losing each of her six starts during her juvenile campaign last year. Since opening her sophomore season with a maiden victory at Sam Houston on Jan. 21, the well-bred filly has flaunted improved maturity to go along with her tactical acceleration as she came into the Pea Patch with a three-race win streak, highlighted by a triumph in the Goldfinch Stakes at Prairie Meadows on May 13.
Confident as Speedometer’s camp was that she could handle the turf, adjusting to the Ellis Park grass proved a non-issue when rain prompted the surface change. After racing along the rail while tracking pacesetter Blazing Summer through an opening quarter-mile in :22.54 and a half in :44.95, Speedometer took command around the far turn and opened up daylight between herself and her rivals in the lane, cruising home under jockey Vincent Cheminaud to stop the teletimer in 1:02.95 over a sealed, muddy track.
“It was a really good ride by (Cheminaud),” said Marissa Short, assistant to Asmussen. “He just kind of put her where she needed to be and just kind of rode the race and it worked out well for us. It’s incredible to watch this filly train in the morning and just watch her grow into this really nice filly. Watching her come off the turn, it was just incredible to see. It was everything we see in the morning with her.”
Blazing Summer held for second, 2 3/4-lengths clear of third-place finisher Mystique Saboteur, but was vanned off after the race and will be evaluated, according to her trainer John Ortiz.
“Unfortunately, she didn’t pull up well and had to ride back in the van. She’ll be going to the farm for a bit of a vacation to heal,” Ortiz said of Blazing Summer. “But as far as the performance, she ran as well we expected. She’s always worked fast on the dirt in the mornings.”
Devine Charger and Sunday Grace rounded out the order. Little Mombo and Trobairitz both scratched.
Sent off as the 2-1 betting favorite, Speedometer returned $6.40, $4.00, and $3.00 to her backers while improving her overall record to four wins from 10 starts with $149,990 in earnings. Bred in Kentucky, she is out of the multiple stakes-winning City Zip mare Speedinthruthecity, who was also trained by Asmussen and campaigned by Winchell Thoroughbreds.
Ellis Park Press Release
Photo: Speedometer (Ellis Park Photo)