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The Racing Dudes team reacts to Shirl’s Speight winning the Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes (G1) at Keeneland in a thrilling photo finish over Masen and Smooth Like Strait, then discuss who they like moving forward, including any potential longshots. Join our replay watch-along to get our instant LIVE reactions, then tell us your thoughts about the race in the Comments section!
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The track press release:
Click here for a replay of the race and the post-race interview with winning connections.
Luis Saez (winning rider of Shirl’s Speight)
On why he took Shirl’s Speight off the pace
“I was watching the replays and (trainer) Roger (Attfield) called me. He said the best way is to come from behind, so I decided to take him back right when we broke. It looked like that was the best decision to make. In the end, he was coming. He ran pretty hard and got there in time.”
On how fast Shirl’s Speight quickened when Saez asked him to go
“He really took off when he came to the top of the stretch. Those horses on the lead were running pretty hard, but he came right there at the right moment. So it was great.”
Roger Attfield (winning trainer)
On how he managed Shirl’s Speight coming back from injury and a layoff
“He sort of lost his way there after winning his first two starts. He’s a very quick horse, and he won those races all on the lead, easily; he didn’t really gain any experience out of it. And then he had suspensory (ligament) problems and we put him away for a while – quite a while – and I appreciate Mr. (Charles) Fipke (owner of Shirl’s Speight) giving him that amount of time (off). They need it when they have that kind of injury.
“We brought him back and he’s run very well for me. In his last race (Tampa Bay Stakes-G3), he was shut off and came with one big run, and I realized that’s probably the way this horse really wants to run. So when I saw he was 50-1 on the morning line, I said, ‘I can’t be that far wrong.’ I won this race with his grandfather (Perfect Soul-IRE in 2004), and this is a better miler than he was.
“There was a lot of speed in the race and Saez gave him a great ride. He let him do that and he came down the stretch fast, didn’t he? I didn’t know whether he was going to make it.”
Flavien Prat (rider of runner-up Masen [GB])
“I had a good trip. He was traveling well and made a good run and it’s a tough beat. We just got beat in the end but he ran a hell of a race.”
Chad Brown (trainer of Masen)
“I am disappointed. Such a tough way to lose by an inch. He ran great off the layoff. Hats off to the winner. It was a very slow pace for him to close from that far back. The winner ran quite a race.
“I was hoping for a little more (fast) pace but one of the scratches – Somelikeithotbrown – was another one of the speed horses so that left a ‘loose’ leader. I knew going into the race that we could end up in a position that he was pulling a little bit, which he was.
“Flavien commented to me that he wished he had a little more pace to get (Masen) off the bridle a little bit and relax a little more down the backside. He had daylight the whole way. That was not the plan, but it was a good decision by (Prat).”
Brown, who said Masen has been in his barn since the winter, said he had no plans for the gelding’s next start.
Umberto Rispoli (rider of third-place finisher Smooth Like Strait)
“It was his first start of the season so I think he ran very well. I tried to make him a little bit more focused on the backside. I was looking around and knew I had a horse on my (side) so I was trying not to make it a sprint race. He’ll probably be a little more in the business next time. He’s always there and always honest so I’m happy with him.”
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