Silver Max, allowed to clear the field early, left his rivals in the $100,000 Transylvania Stakes (gr. IIIT) behind leaving the turn and romped to his first graded stakes win on opening day of the Keeneland spring meet April 6 (VIDEO).
Robby Albarado was along for the ride as Silver Max dominated with a 5 1/2-length win in the 1 1/16-mile turf event for 3-year-olds. The final time, 1:41.81 over firm going, was a half-second off the stakes mark.
Silver Max won for the third time in four starts in 2012 following a 2-year-old campaign in which he finished second in all five of his races. He was coming off an overnight stakes victory at Gulfstream Park March 9 by 3 1/4 lengths.
Dale Romans trains the winning son of Badge of Silver out of the Kissin Kris mare Kissin Rene for owners Mark Bacon and Dana Wells. Steve Snowden and Seth and Will Lauffer bred the bay colt in Kentucky.
“Unbelievable. I’m so excited. It’s been fantastic," said co-owner Bacon after his first stakes win. "I have my whole family up. My kids were in school today so they couldn’t make it, so I’m hoping they’re watching it on TV with my wife. It’s been great."
Travel Advisory finished second with State of Play third. Monastic, the slight 2-1 favorite over State of Play in the field of six, settled for fourth.
Silver Max sped to the front over State of Play and Icon Ike at the start and quickly took command by 3 1/2 lengths while coasting through quarter-mile fractions of :23.46, :47.37, and 1:11.81. Icon Ike made his move on the outside rounding the turn to get within two lengths of Silver Max, who burst away leaving the turn. Silver Max was never threatened in the lane while opening up by five lengths. He was guided home under hand coaxing by Albarado.
"I’d ridden the father, Badge of Silver, a few times," said Albarado, who was aboard Silver Max for the first time since the colt's debut at Saratoga last July. "He was a speed horse. He had a high cruising speed just like Silver Max. Quick fractions, but he did it within himself. He didn’t overdo it; he sprinted home, and he pretty much had them in hand the whole way.”
Silver Max now has three wins and three seconds in six starts on turf.
Travel Advisory, racing at the back of the pack for Manoel Cruz, rallied between horses under right-handed urging near mid-stretch to get up for second. He was 1 1/4 lengths clear of the one-paced State of Play, winner of Saratoga's With Anticipation Stakes (gr. IIT) last summer. Monastic, who rated in fourth or fifth on the outside for most of the trip, offered little in the way of a response and was beaten by nine lengths. Icon Ike and Wayward Sailor followed.
Silver Max, a $20,000 buy at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky 2010 Select yearling sale, boosted his career earnings to $169,475 with the $60,000 winner's share. Silver Max broke his maiden on the Gulfstream Park turf Jan. 13. He returned to finish fifth in the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) two weeks later on a sloppy main track, his only prior graded stakes appearance. His career mark stands at 3-5-0 in nine races.
Sent off as the third choice, Silver Max carried 118 pounds and returned $8.60, $4.20, $2.80. Travel Advisory, trained by Kellyn Gorder, paid $6.20 and $4 and completed a $48.40 exacta. State of Play, the 123-pound high weight ridden by John Velazquez for trainer Graham Motion, was $2.80 to show.
Saturday Launch scratched.