Although trainer Dale Romans was out of luck with 5-2 favorite Dullahan in
last Saturday's Belmont Stakes, he promises to bounce right back with the
nation's hottest turf sophomore, Silver Max, in Wednesday's $200,000
Stakes at Indiana Downs.
The winner of four straight in wire-to-wire fashion, Silver Max has looked a league apart from his rivals. The son of Badge of Silver, who began his streak in a Gulfstream Park allowance/optional claimer in March, has since romped by 5 1/2 lengths in the Grade 3 Transylvania at Keeneland, by 2 3/4 lengths in the Grade 2 American Turf on Kentucky Oaks Day and by two lengths in the May 26 Arlington Classic.
Silver Max once again figures to play catch-me-if-you-can in this one-mile turf test, which is expected to serve as his prep for the Grade 2 Virginia Derby on July 21. Drawn in post 9 in a 12-horse field, Silver Max reunites with Robby Albarado, who last rode him in the Transylvania.
Howe Great, the co-highweight with Silver Max at 123 pounds, would have rated as his most accomplished opponent. But the Team Valor International colt is unlikely to make the trip. Trainer Graham Motion told Daily Racing Form that he expects to contest Saturday's Grade 3 Hill Prince at Belmont Park.
Silver Max, the likely heavy favorite, is coupled in the wagering with two others from the Romans barn, Cozzetti and Quick Wit. Corey Lanerie is named on both of his entrymates.
Cozzetti reverts to turf after trying the Triple Crown trail. Third in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby and fourth in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, the Cozzene colt wound up seventh in the May 19 Preakness, and should find these conditions more congenial.
Quick Wit, third in the Grade 2 Hutcheson in February, fared progressively worse in his next two graded stakes forays. Stretching out to two turns and trying turf last time in a Churchill allowance, the Sharp Humor colt showed much more, only to suffer a troubled trip before being elevated to second.
Exiting that same race is the well-bred Temeraine, who was awarded the victory via disqualification. A full brother to South African sprint champion Overarching, Temeraine represents the ever-dangerous Tom Proctor, and looms as an intriguing sleeper in this first stakes attempt.
The Kellyn Gorder-trained Travel Advisory has finished best of the rest behind Silver Max in both the Transylvania and American Turf. The deep closer will have a sixteenth less ground to work with here, but picks up the services of Leandro Goncalves.
Mr. Prankster, twice a stakes winner over the Turfway Polytrack this winter, made an encouraging turf debut at Belmont last out. The Mike Maker pupil set the pace and held for third in the May 20 Tiller Stakes.
Other contenders include veteran stakes performer Senor Rain, who ships in from Hollywood Park for Peter Miller; North of Never, most recently fourth to Silver Max in the Arlington Classic; and Diez from the Darrin Miller barn.