A 7-year-old gelding, Silver Timber scored the Woodford Stakes (gr. IIIT) last season at the fall meet in his first start over the Keeneland turf. Once again he was ridden to victory by Julien Leparoux for up-and-coming trainer Chad Brown.
Silver Timber broke well in the 5 1/2-furlong Shakertown, but was beaten to the turn by Moralist, who got the opening quarter-mile in :21.55 under Javier Castellano. Leparoux kept the son of Prime Timber tucked along the inside as they rounded the turn, with Moralist holding a slight lead over a three-wide Grand Adventure.
Moralist took the field into the stretch, but was beginning to give way to a charging Grand Adventure, who struck the lead in mid-stretch under jockey Kent Desormeaux. It didn’t look as though Silver Timber was going to have enough to get to the new leader, but Leparoux swung his mount away from the fence and once he found room on the outside began to gain ground. The 3-2 favorite caught Grand Adventure in the final strides.
The final time was 1:01.87 over the firm turf course, just 1/5 of a second off the track record set in 2006. Grand Adventure settled for runner-up, one length in front of Moralist. Chamberlain Bridge, the second choice, was fourth.
"Kent was up on the inside (with Grand Adventure) and when I got on the outside he (found) another gear and finished very strongly," Leparoux said.
Silver Timber won for the 10th time in 31 starts. The gray/roan gelding notched his third graded stakes, the other coming in Belmont's Jaipur (gr. IIIT) last summer for owners Michael Dubb and Peter Randazzo.
The winner is out of the Alwuhush mare River Princess and was bred in New York by Sez Who Thoroughbreds.
"I was worried he would be a little rusty," said Brown, who had not started Silver Timber since last November's Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita when sixth. "I had not run him after that long a layoff before, but he has been training very good and we have a top jock on him so I felt confident he would be right there."
Silver Timber paid $5, $3, and $2.60. The exacta (2-6) was $21.60 and the trifecta (2-6-3) returned $106.