11/16/2014 6:59PM

Speechify collects first stakes win in Kenny Noe

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Natalie Fawkes
Speechify, making just his second start since January, wins the Kenny Noe Jr. under Paco Lopez.

MIAMI  -   What he lacked in experience, Speechify made up for in talent and perseverance, becoming a stakes winner for the first time with a convincing 3 3/4-length decision over Grande Shores in Sunday’s $90,000 Kenny Noe Jr. Stakes at Gulfstream Park West.

With only six previous starts under his belt, and only one since Jan.  23, Speechify gave away a lot of seasoning to his seven rivals in the six- furlong Kenny Noe. But with jockey Paco Lopez taking advantage of the speed-favoring racetrack, Speechify was able to stalk the early pace of Mongolian Saturday, readily gained the lead on the final turn, and  then asserted his dominance through the stretch.

Grande Shores, who trailed after the opening quarter-mile, did well to rally between horses near the inside to finish second against the grain of a fast main track that favored speed throughout the card. Mongolian Saturday held on to finish third.

Risk Factor, the 2-1 favorite, surprisingly dropped off the early pace when steadied in traffic after the opening furlong. He made a mild run at the winner entering the stretch but could not sustain his bid, ultimately fading to finish fourth, six lengths behind Speechify.

The victory was the fourth in just seven career starts for Speechify, a son of Harlan’s Holiday  who is owned by Team Valor International. Speechify has to be delicately handled by trainer Ralph Nicks due to a restriction in his esophagus which limits his diet on a daily basis.

Speechify completed the distance in 1:10.52 and paid $8.80.

“He’s awesome,” said Nicks. “It’s a shame he has the restriction in his throat because he could be something special.”