Multiple Grade I winner I’m a Chatterbox was put through her final serious paces in advance of her expected start in Sunday’s Grade I Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keeneland, drilling 5 furlongs in :59 flat at Keeneland on Tuesday morning.
With regular rider Florent Geroux in the irons, the daughter of Munnings posted splits of :11.80, :22.60, and :34.20 and was under an easy hold as she galloped out 6 furlongs in 1:13. It was the latest in a string of strong moves for the chestnut filly since her fourth-place finish in the Grade I Personal Ensign Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 27, an effort trainer Larry Jones actually called her career best based on speed figures.
“She seems like she’s come out of the breeze really well,” Jones said from his Keeneland barn. “She’s one of those, and I don’t know how long she can do it, but every race has improved for her this year. She’s already way past her 3-year-old (form) numbers-wise. Her last race was her best and we’re hoping the Spinster will be better than her last.”
The distaff division is as deep as any this season with unbeaten champion Songbird tearing through her sophomore rivals with condescending ease and champions Stellar Wind and Beholder showcasing how good they have become with age.
Jones feels like, with the right trip, I’m a Chatterbox can be in that mix with anyone. After running second in the Grade II Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland in her season debut, Carolyn and Fletcher Gray’s homebred filly cantered to an 8½-length victory in the Obeah Handicap at Delaware Park on June 11 and followed that with a 2¼-length win in the Grade I Delaware Handicap on July 16.
As Jones suggested, her Personal Ensign loss was no disgrace as the top four finishers — led by race winner Cavorting — were separated by a little more than a length.
“I think if you took those four horses and run then in 10 races on 10 different tracks, every horse will win a race somewhere because those horses are so good and no one of them is going to dominate,” Jones said. “There are seven horses sitting on this (Breeders’ Cup) Distaff were I think any seven of them I think could win it with the right trip.”
Jones said that should I’m a Chatterbox prevail in the Spinster, a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, she would almost certainly go on to Santa Anita Park on Nov. 4 but added if she doesn’t, he isn’t sure the Grays would “want to pay the $60,000 (entry fee) to run against Songbird and Stellar Wind.”
There is also the matter of some long-range plans for I’m a Chatterbox as Jones said the hope is to bring the filly back next year for a 5-year-old campaign.
“That is the idea,” Jones said. “She is bigger and stronger this year, and I think that’s why her numbers are picking up. She’s just more horse than she was before because she’s always done everything well.”
I’m a Chatterbox has won seven of 15 career starts with $1,884,614 in earnings.