Tropical Turf H. (gr. III)

(gr. IIIT , 9f ,)

SILVER TREE (CH h, 116 lb) $60,000
Hennessy —Blue Begum , by With Approval
B—Vegso Racing Stable, FL.; O—Peter Vegso; T—William I. Mott

Demeteor (DK B/ g, 114 lb) $20,000
Dehere —Seattle Meteor , by Seattle Slew
B—Grand Farm, KY.; O—Kenneth E. Hoffman; T—Kenneth E. Hoffman

Settle Up (DK B/ h, 115 lb) $11,000
Kris S. —In Conference , by Dayjur
B—Ogden Mills Phipps, KY.; O—Phipps Stable; T—Claude R. McGaughey III

Margins: neck, 2, ¾. Others: Keep Cool 115($6,000) , Icy Atlantic 115($3,000) , Cointreau 114 , Saint Stephen 114 , Hotstufanthensome 118 , Noble Masterpiece 115 , Stormy Ray 115 , Bob's Proud Moment 114 . Winning Jockey, Jerry D. Bailey.

The rain finally came for Silver Tree whose 2005 campaign had been nothing but a long dry spell with three close-calls, but still five winless efforts. The 5-year-old son of Hennessy earned his first, long-awaited victory of the year in the Dec. 3 Tropical Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Calder, an event in which he finished second to Host last year.

Silver Tree’s record this year includes second-place efforts in the Nov. 12 Bonnie Heath Turf Cup, Fourstardave (gr. IIT), and Bernard Baruch (gr. IIT) Handicaps. His prior trip to the winner’s circle came in the July 30, 2004 Bernard Baruch Handicap.

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott conditions homebred Silver Tree for Peter Vegso, who owns The Racing Edge Farm near Ocala, Fla. Vegso is a publisher known for his involvement in the popular book series Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Vegso Racing Stable purchased Silver Tree’s dam, Blue Begum, for $200,000 at the 1998 Keeneland November mixed sale. Glencrest Farm, agent, consigned the mare, who was in foal to Hennessy at the time.

Bred by Donald MacRae in Kentucky, Blue Begum was purchased for $37,000 as a weanling at the 1993 Keeneland November sale. Consigned by Deer Lawn Farm, agent, she was purchased by S.H. Rogers Jr. Rogers consigned Blue Begum as a yearling to the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale where she was purchased for $70,000 by German American Bloodstock. A winner, she was twice stakes-placed in Germany in 1996. Glencrest Farm campaigned Blue Begum in five starts in the U.S. in 1997, her last year to race.

Blue Begum’s first foal, Orchard Park, is a homebred full brother to Silver Tree. In 2002, Orchard Park won four stakes including two grade III turf races—the Jefferson Cup and Palm Beach. He also won the Virgina Derby that year, a race Silver Tree won the following year.

Blue Begum died in 2002. Her last foal is a 3-year-old War Chant colt named Honoring Blue, who Mott also trains for Vegso. He is a 2005 winner. Mott said Silver Tree is likely to run in the Jan. 28 Sunshine Millions Turf at Gulfstream Park.

Hennessy is the sire of 46 stakes winners. Among his seven 2005 grade/group winners are Madcap Escapade (gr. II), Henny Hughes (gr. II), Primary Suspect (gr. III), and Grand Armee (Aust-I). Hennessy stands at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky. His 2006 fee will be $60,000, up from his 2005 fee of $35,000.—A.W.