Speakerphone, with Clarence Ladner aboard, stalked Rainbow Prospect down the back stretch, took the lead on the turn and pulled away through the home stretch to win the Hirsch Jacobs Stakes yesterday at Pimlico Race Course.
The three-year-old son of Fappiano out of Hat Brim by In Reality covered the six furlongs in 1 minute, 10 1/5 seconds. Coin Collector, coming on with a rush in the stretch, finished second and Golden Phase was third.
"He broke good, laid up close and moved up near the lead on the backside, so I let him go to the lead on the turn," said Ladner. "He changed leads at the top of the lane and went on about his business."
The victory was the first of the year for the Dean Gaudet-trained colt owned by Israel Cohen. Speakerphone earned $43,600 for its victory and now has earned $97,815 in its nine-race career.
"We're going to take it one step at a time," said Gaudet. "At this point the Kentucky Derby is doubtful but the Preakness is still a possibility. "It's up to the horse. He came back a long way since that race in New York [the Count Fleet Handicap, Jan. 26 at Aqueduct]. He was like a zombie then and then he had to overcome a foot injury."
NOTES: Edgar Prado rode three winners yesterday, raising his total to 20 and an eight-win lead over second-place Michael RTC Luzzi. . . . Jockey Joe Rocco had to be replaced on five mounts yesterday at Pimlico. A track spokesman said Rocco called in sick. . . . The $100,000 John B. Campbell Handicap, a 1 1/8 -mile race for 3-year-olds and up, will be the featured race at Pimlico today. Sunny Sunrise, trained by Bud Delp and to be ridden by Mike Smith, is the likely favorite. Gala Spinaway, trained by Bernie Bond and to be ridden by Greg McCarron and Valley Crossing, with Prado up and trained by Dickie Small, figure to be the top opposition in the seven-horse field. . . . Pimlico will also offer two simulcasts today, the Commonwealth Breeders' Cup from Keeneland and the Tropical Park Oaks from Calder Race Course.