Will Silver Tree Shine in Dixie?
An accomplished field of 12 older males will contest the May 19 Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT) at Pimlico.
Leading the list in earnings is millionaire Silver Tree, who will be looking to bounce back after an unplaced effort in the April 7 John B. Connally Breeders' Cup Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT).
During his 30-start career, the Florida-bred son of Hennessy--Blue Begum, by With Approval, has won or placed in 16 stakes contests, nine of them graded. His best score came as a 4-year-old in the Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. IIT) at Saratoga.
Silver Tree, a 7-year-old horse, races as a homebred for Peter Vegso's Vegso Racing Stable. The outfit also campaigned grade I winner Splendid Blendid, who was named Florida-bred champion 2-year-old filly in 2004.
Though Silver Tree has earned quite a bit more than his 5-year-old rival Einstein, the latter horse is the only one in the Dixie field to have previously notched a grade I victory.
The son of Spend a Buck is owned by Midnight Cry Stable, an operation that additionally owns a stake in Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) third-place finisher and Preakness (gr. I) contender Curlin.
Einstein scored his major win in the 2006 Gulfstream Park Breeders Cup Stakes (gr. IT) and will enter the Dixie off an unplaced effort in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs on Derby Day. Before that, he took the March 10 Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) at Fair Grounds.
Seeking a major comeback is two-time grade II winner Dreadnaught, who has been winless in his last 11 starts, though he has hit the board in six of them. The 7-year-old gelding enters the Dixie off more than a three-month layoff. He last ran second in the Jan. 28 Mac Diarmida Handicap (gr. IIT) at Gulfstream Park.
Other horses to watch for in the Dixie include last year's Fourstardave Handicap (gr. IIT) winner Remarkable News, a Venezuelan-bred son of Chayim; and previous grade III winners Can't Beat It, Cosmonaut, Woodlander, Outperformance, and Mending Fences.
Stay Close, General Jumbo, and Wood Be Willing round out the field.
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