Silver Max turned back the challenge of 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan at the top of the stretch to win the 28th running of the $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) by 1 ¼ lengths.
Because of heavy rain earlier in the afternoon, the race was taken off the turf course and run at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. More than 1½ inches of rain fell in the Keeneland area in a two-hour span after the storms began after 4 p.m.
Silver Max is trained by Dale Romans and was ridden by Robby Albarado. It was the second Shadwell Turf Mile victory for Romans, who won the race in 2008 with Thorn Song.
“He had management issues, said Romans. “I threw him to the wolves probably a little quicker than I should have, but we backed up and regrouped and he’s strong this fall. We had a tired horse last fall – this fall we’re just peaking.”
The victory secured a berth for Silver Max to the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) to be held Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.
Albarado put Silver Max on the lead out of the gate and moved toward the rail from the No. 9 post position while Wise Dan was floated wide in the first turn. Silver Max carved out a first quarter-mile in :23.79 and the first half in :46.73 while running unopposed on the lead.
Meanwhile, John Velazquez had Wise Dan in the clear on the far outside and moved into second as the field approached the far turn. Wise Dan moved to within a length of the leader approaching the top of the stretch but could get no closer as Silver Max completed the distance in 1:42.06.
“He ran a good race; he just didn’t run his A game today,” Velazquez said of Wise Dan. “First time running on the Polytrack and it’s really wet and it seemed like he was tiring from it today. He couldn’t seem to get his (footing). After that he kept trying. At the three-eighths pole, I thought I was going to be in control, that (running down Silver Max) was going to be easy, but when I went after him, he (Silver Max) started running again. It was only a matter of time whether (Wise Dan) would handle the track. He handled the track OK, but the track is different today — a lot of water. He had to work harder. Other than that he kept trying and ran hard.”
The victory was worth $450,000 and raised Silver Max’s career earnings to $1,658,403 with a record of 22-11-5-1. Silver Max is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Badge of Silver out of the Kissin Kris mare Kissin Rene.