Therapist turns tables on Speed Franco in Cutler Bay Stakes

Saturday, March 31st, 2018

Coglianese Photo/Kenny Martin

By Sarah Mace

Therapist, a homebred for Lynn and Richard Leahy’s Oak Bluff Stables, first tasted defeat in his fourth career start – also his seasonal and graded stakes debut – when he finished 2 1/4 lengths behind Speed Franco in Gulfstream Park’s Palm Beach Stakes on March 3.

On Saturday at the same venue, the chestnut son of Freud turned the tables on the spoiler, collaring Speed Franco late to record his third career stakes win in Gulfstream Park’s $150,000 Cutler Bay Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile on turf.

Breaking from post one (of six) as the 2-1 second betting choice under Irad Ortiz, Jr., Therapist let others wrangle for the lead and spent the first three-quarters of the race biding his time with a ground-saving trip in fifth and sixth, about six lengths off the pace. Up front, Salmanazar was pressed along by Speed Franco through testing fractions, clocking an opening quarter-mile in 23.57, half in 46.75 and six furlongs in 1:09.95.

Therapist began to angle out for position in the far turn while coming under a ride and spun out widest of all into the lane to launch his rally.

As Therapist passed horses rocketing down the center of the track, Speed Franco overhauled Salmanazar inside the furlong grounds, and was minded to draw off. In the nick of time, however, Therapist reeled in his rival to get the win by a neck. Salmanazar and Nauti Boy finished noses apart third and fourth another 2 3/4 lengths back. Neepawa and The Dow completed the order of finish. The final time for the mile was a sharp 1:33.42.

Coglianese Photo/Leslie Martin

“[Therapist] broke a little slow but he moves a lot in the gate, so he always breaks like that,” Ortiz Jr. said.

“I got a good position and I followed the speed horses and tried to save some ground, and when I tipped him out he was there for me. I just waited, and he’s much better on the outside. I told the trainer the ground is pretty hard and holding speed, so we have to be close. He wasn’t, but we got there anyway.”

Therapist’s 2018 season is off to a great start with a graded third-place finish and the Cutler Bay win, but he got everything off on the right foot last year for trainer Christophe Clement with a stellar juvenile campaign, when he went undefeated in three starts.

After breaking his maiden in a turf sprint maiden for state-breds at Belmont Park last July 2, Therapist went straight on to the 6-furlong Laurel Futurity on September 16, which he won with a dramatic surge despite breaking through the gate before the race. He closed out 2017 by winning Belmont’s Awad Stakes on October 28.

Foaled at Berkshire Stud in Pine Plains, Therapist is one of two winners out of Lady Renaissance, a winning Kentucky-bred daughter of Sharp Strike who was purchased by Oak Bluff Stables for $15,000 at the 2009 Keeneland November sale. Lady Renaissance has produced a yearling full sister to Therapist and foaled a Temple City colt on February 13, 2018.

Owner/Breeder Richard Leahy said, “We bought the mare and bred her. We actually tried to sell him, but he didn’t attract any real bidders, so I took him back,” Richard Leahy said. “Christophe and John Donaldson, a bloodstock agent, thought he’d be a lot of fun and he has been.”

From four wins and a third Therapist has earned $243,725.



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