Silver Max, who last fall beat two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan in an off-the-turf edition of the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. I), won't have that rival to contend with Aug. 9 in the $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap (gr. IIT) at Saratoga Race Course.
Rapidly closing in on the $2 million mark in earnings, 5-year-old Silver Max makes his second start of 2014 as the 122-pound highweight in the Fourstardave, to be contested over Saratoga's inner turf course. Wise Dan will sit out the race as he continues to progress in his comeback from May 16 colic surgery.
Last year, Silver Max won the Bernard Baruch (gr. IIT) over yielding turf later in the Saratoga season after Wise Dan sailed to his second Fourstardave win. Following a fourth behind that rival in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), Silver Max went to the shelf. He came back this season with a powerful wire-to-wire score June 28 in the Firecracker Stakes (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs.
"He's going to the front like he always does," trainer Dale Romans said of planned strategy for the Fourstardave. "If someone can run by him, I want to buy him. He's got himself in peak form. Mother Nature made a fast horse with stamina."
Campaigned by Mark Bacon and Dana Wells, who purchased the bay horse by Badge of Silver for $20,000 from the 2010 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky select yearling sale, Silver Max has won seven graded stakes and has a 12-5-1 record from 24 starts overall. He starts from the one hole with Robby Albarado in the irons.
Romans said the plan for Silver Max is the same as last year if all goes well exiting Saratoga—a run in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland en route to the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park Oct .31-Nov. 1.
One closer who could prove a threat to Silver Max's front-running ways is Jim and Susan Hill's Grand Arch, winner of the June 22 King Edward Stakes (gr. IIT) in his most recent start for Brian Lynch. Victorious in that one-mile turf event with a driving finish, the 5-year-old Arch gelding recorded his initial graded stakes score. He has been no worse than third in 14 starts.
The Fourstardave also attracted Gary Barber's Jack Milton, winner of the May 26 Poker Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park and fifth in the June 14 Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) at Santa Anita last time out. The 4-year-old son of War Front aced the one-mile Poker with a strong rally but did display a similar kick for trainer Todd Pletcher in the Shoemaker Mile, his first trip to the West Coast.
Shadwell Stable's Sayaad stretched his winning streak to three in the July 4 Forbidden Apple at Belmont for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
Completing the field is Juddmonte Farms' Seek Again. In three American appearances he won the Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) in December 2013 when still trained by John Gosden, finished second to Wise Dan by a head in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) in May at Churchill after moving to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, and checked in third in the Knob Creek Manhattan (gr. IT) as the favorite June 7 at Belmont.
Saratoga Race Course , Saturday, August 09, 2014, Race 10
- Inner turf
- 3 yo's & up
- 6:10 PM (local)
|1||Silver Max (KY)||Robby Albarado||122||Dale L. Romans|
|2||Seek Again (KY)||Joel Rosario||121||William I. Mott|
|3||Jack Milton (KY)||Javier Castellano||119||Todd A. Pletcher|
|4||Dorsett (KY)||John R. Velazquez||115||Brian A. Lynch|
|5||Sayaad (KY)||Jose L. Ortiz||118||Kiaran P. McLaughlin|
|6||Grand Arch (KY)||David Moran||117||Brian A. Lynch|