With 36 starts under his belt, Silver Timber has a lot of mileage. But you would never know it from looking at him. The 7-year-old Prime Timber gelding has the legs of a horse less than half his age, a coat still in bloom, and the demeanor of a Labrador.
Needless to say, he is a favorite in the barn of trainer Chad Brown, where everyone, including Brown's young daughter Ava, likes to give him peppermints. Having set a course record in the Churchill Downs Turf Sprint (gr. IIIT) this past spring among his four victories this year, Silver Timber is expected to be among the favorites in a full field for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IIT).
Since winning his second consecutive Woodford Stakes (gr. IIIT) Oct. 9, Silver Timber remained at Keeneland to complete preparations for the Breeders’ Cup. The chief reason: He likes training on the Polytrack. “He’s a 7 year old and he’s a sprinter and he’s been running since April,” explained Anna Hollander, the assistant trainer and exercise rider. “He knows what he’s doing and he does what he needs to do.”
Before shipping to Churchill Downs Oct. 31, Silver Timber had the nearly undivided attention of Brown’s small crew at Keeneland. The gelding seemed to enjoy the quiet surroundings and the brisk autumn mornings, Hollander said. “He’s a wonderful horse to be around. He’s a happy little fellow,” she said.
Brown was on hand to oversee Silver Timber’s two works, one Oct. 23 and the last Oct. 30 and both with regular rider Julien Leparoux aboard. In the latter, clockers timed the gelding in :48 2/5 for four furlongs while Brown said he got him in 1:01 for five furlongs.
Both works came over the Polytrack. “He’s been training well on the Polytrack, so I didn’t want to change anything,” Brown said.
The trainer expects Silver Timber to be especially formidable in the Turf Sprint now that the race has been shorted to five furlongs from 6½ and the gelding holds the Churchill Downs record for that distance.
Brown claimed Silver Timber in April 2009 for $25,000. Since then he has won seven times from 11 starts for Michael Dubb and High Grade Racing Stable. In all, the gray/roan New York-bred has earned $677,619.