10/22/2014 11:10AM

Woodbine Harness: Artspeak appears ready for Governor's Cup Final

Derick Giwner
Artspeak was perfect after seven starts but has lost his last two.

Heading into Saturday’s C$565,000 Governor’s Cup final at Woodbine there are many unanswered questions. Only after the horses cross the finish line will we know whether Metro stakes winner Artspeak is truly back on his game. The wickedly fast son of Western Ideal looked like the next super-horse during the summer, but in his last two races broke stride at key points in the mile.

With his winning streak broken, trainer Tony Alagna is hopeful he can stop the streak of breaking stride at two and get his prized colt back to the winner’s circle.

“The break he made at the Red Mile we believe was a combination of a stifle bothering him and the track condition that day. The track was dry on the surface but wet underneath. If you notice a lot of horses made breaks that day,” said Alagna of the first break.

“I have no idea why he broke last Saturday,” said Alagna, who explained that the horse was examined the next afternoon with everything checking out normal.

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Artspeak was in position to score in one of two trials for the Governor’s Cup last Saturday at Woodbine. Driver Scott Zeron had him behind live cover on the final turn when suddenly, without warning he broke stride. Zeron was quick to get him back on gait and Artspeak was pacing faster than any horse in the final eighth, gobbling up ground to finish third and reach the final.

“If training a horse was easy, everyone would do it,” said Alagna about his current situation. “We’ll train him back this week and make the necessary changes.”

Artspeak drew post six and is still likely to be the favorite despite recent misfortune. He’ll have to deal with elimination winners Pierce Hanover (post 2) and Lyons Again (post 3). Last week the late-developing Pierce Hanover was an impressive victor racing without cover for driver Jody Jamieson and scoring in 1:52 1/5 in the same division as Artspeak. Ken Sucee co-owns and trains the $38,000 yearling buy.

Lyons Again scored for trainer Ron Burke in 1:52 4/5, his first victory of the season in eight starts. The son of Dragons Again finished third behind Artspeak in the Metro at Mohawk in late August starting from post eight. With the post positions inverted in the Governor’s Cup, Lyons Again hopes to pull off the upset.

Alagna recently took over the training of Rock Her World. The filly finished fourth in one of two eliminations for the Three Diamonds and earned a trip to the final.

“We’ll see how she races,” said Alagna, “We bought her more for her three-year-old campaign. She’s got some go to her.”

Rock Her World is a daughter of Rocknroll Hanover from a full sister to $1.2 million winner Kikikatie. Kikikatie’s first five foals have all won in 1:50 or better. Rock Her World essentially has the identical pedigree as Rockin Image ($901,756), Time To Roll ($774,802), and Rockin Amadeus ($728,392).

Rock Her World drew post seven for the C$424,000 Three Diamonds final and figures to be a longshot with the undefeated J K Shesalady starting from post three.

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