With last year's winner and stablemate Philly Ace scratched, Speaking of Which made the most of an opportunity to shine for trainer Christophe Clement in the $100,000 Tropical Turf Handicap Dec. 7 at Calder Casino & Race Course.
A Group 3 winner in his native Ireland, Speaking of Which got an ideal stalking trip in fifth under Joe Bravo, who angled him wide into the stretch en route to a one-length triumph, his first in a graded stakes in the United States
The 4-year-old Invincible Spirit colt willingly responded when called upon and unleashed a strong outside stretch run. He dispatching pacesetter Heiko and third-placed finisher Bad Debt in the late stages while comfortably holding back a determined rally on the hedge from runner-up Tetradrachm, the 2-1 favorite
Bad Debt, the 5-2 second choice, pressed Heiko throughout most the 1 ⅛-mile test and gamely challenged that rival around the far turn and through the lane to lead at the sixteenth pole. But he was no match for the top two, finishing three-quarters of a length behind Tetradrachm.
Heiko faded to fourth, another half-length back in the nine-horse field.
The winner was timed in 1:50.03 as the 9-2 third choice on turf rated as good, earning his second U.S. win from seven starts. His previous best graded stakes finish was in November 2012 in his domestic debut when second in the 1 ⅛-mile Twilight Derby at Santa Anita Park.
Speaking of Which scored his first U.S. win in an allowance win going 1 1/16 miles in June at Monmouth Park. Stepped up to grade I competition, he was unplaced in the Man o' War Stakes in July at Belmont Park and subsequently got a four-month break. He returned to finish fifth in the Three Coins Up Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack Nov. 10 before his breakthrough graded stakes win in the Tropical Turf.
A Moyglare Stud Farm homebred, Speaking of Which made four starts in Ireland last year. He captured the Airlie Stud Gallinule Stakes and was third in the KPMG Enterprise Kilternan Stakes for previous trainer Dermot Weld before being transferred to Clement in the U.S.
"He always showed some turnout in Europe, and he showed some good races here," said assistant trainer Thomas Brandebourger "He worked very well this last week, so we were pretty confident he was going to run a big race. He had a great ride and he won easy, so that's a great race."
Overall, Speaking of Which has four wins from 11 starts and $187,918 in earnings.
Speaking of Which, who is out of the Mr. Prospector mare Suitably Discreet, paid $11.20, $5.40, and $2.80, while Tetradachm returned mutuels of $4 and $2.60. The 2-1 exacta paid $4.60.
Completing the order of finish were Grand Tito in fifth, followed by Paris Vegas, Reflecting, Exothermic, and Live in Joy.