12/27/2014 5:26PM

Speechify wins first graded stakes in Mr. Prospector

Lauren King
Speechify rallied from off the pace Saturday to win the Mr. Prospector Stakes at Gulfstream Park by 1 1/4 lengths.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Speechify, who has overcome a number of physical ailments to become one of the top sprinters in south Florida, became a graded stakes winner when rallying to a very professional 1 1/4-length victory over Risk Factor in Saturday’s $100,000 Mr. Prospector at Gulfstream Park.

Speechify is required to eat a liquid diet on a daily basis due to a restriction in his esophagus. He also had to recuperate from a condylar fracture incurred last winter during a training mishap. But through it all, the 4-year-old son of Harlan’s Holiday has proven nearly unbeatable at distances ranging from 5 1/2 to six furlongs on the main track, the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector being his fifth win in six tries under those conditions.

Speechify, who won the Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap at Gulfstream Park West in his previous start, sat a perfect trip under jockey Paco Lopez in the six-furlong Mr. Prospector, rating just off the pace of Mongolian Saturday. Speechify rallied three wide to wrest control nearing the furlong grounds, then gradually edged clear. Risk Factor prompted the early issue, attempted to rally in company with the winner entering the stretch, proved no match, but was clearly second best.

Speechify is trained by Ralph Nicks for Team Valor International. He paid $5.60 after completing six furlongs in 1:09.54 over a track officially listed as “good” Saturday.

“He’s come a long ways,” said Nicks. “He’s so straightforward. He’s one of those horses who enjoys what he does. He’s like a good athlete. He tries to get better. The fact he had to come off the pace didn’t concern me. It will actually make him a better sprinter because he can.”

Nicks said he’s uncertain what will be next on Speechify’s agenda.

“He’s had three races close together, so we’ll take our time now,” said Nicks. “We’ll let him tell us.”