Appleton H. (gr. III)

(gr. IIIT , 8f ,)

SILVER TREE (CH h, 118 lb) $75,000
Hennessy —Blue Begum , by With Approval
B—Vegso Racing Stable, FL.; O—Peter Vegso; T—William I. Mott

Steel Light (CH g, 117 lb) $25,000
Stravinsky —Idilic Calm (IRE) , by Indian Ridge (IRE)
B—Moyglare Stud Farm, Ltd., KY.; O—Moyglare Stud Farm, Ltd.; T—Christophe Clement

Old Dodge (BRZ) (B h, 117 lb) $13,750
Dodge —Ojeada Fighter , by Irish Fighter
B—Haras Anderson, BRZ.; O—Alnoff Stable; T—Roger A. Horgan

Margins: neck, ½, 1¼. Others: Gin and Sin 114($7,500) , Kiss the Kid 116($3,750) , Tiganello (GER) 116 , Giant Wrecker 116 , Better Than Bonds 114 . Winning Jockey, Edgar S. Prado.

After enjoying a six-month layoff, Silver Tree returned to the races with a neck victory over Steel Light in the Appleton Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park March 4. Bill Mott trains the 7-year-old homebred son of Hennessy for Peter Vegso.

“In his last two races, it looked like he wasn’t participating, where previous to that, he always tried and gave it a good go no matter what,” Vegso said. “The first month at the farm all he did was stand out there with his head down. Then all of sudden he started picking his head up, rolling in the sand, and running around, and after awhile he started saying, ‘Where is the track?’ “

Silver Tree has now won a stakes race every year for five years including the Bernard Baruch (gr. IIT) and Tropical Turf (gr. IIIT) Handicaps as well as the Virginia Derby and Cherokee River Stables Turf Classic Stakes.

Vegso was also represented recently by Obrigado, whom he owns in partnership. The gelding won the Feb. 25 San Luis Obispo Handicap (gr. IIT).

Plans for Silver Tree’s next start remain undecided, but Vegso said they are considering racing him in Australia later this year and that Silver Tree was returned to racing in part because there was little interest in him as a stallion prospect.

“I don’t think anyone is that interested in a grass stallion here other than ones that are at the real top,” Vegso said. “Actually, I might stand him in Australia because I have had interest from there. We are looking forward to him racing well this year and will worry about it next year.”

Vegso bred Silver Tree in Florida in the name of his Vegso Racing Stable. The chestnut horse is out of the stakes-placed With Approval mare Blue Begum. Vegso purchased her for $200,000 at the 1998 Keeneland November mixed sale while she was carrying her first foal. The resulting colt, a full brother to Silver Tree named Orchard Park, is also a multiple graded stakes winner. In 2002, he won the Jefferson Cup and Palm Beach Stakes (both gr. IIIT). Vegso stands him at his farm, The Racing Edge, in Ocala, Fla.

Blue Begum is the dam of two other foals and both are winners. She died as the result of colic in 2002.

Hennessy is the sire of 55 stakes winners including additional 2007 added-money winners Liquor Cabinet (gr. III), Sunrise Bacchus (Jpn-I), Dance the Waves (Aust-III), and Mary Delaney. The 14-year-old son of Storm Cat stands at Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky., for a fee of $60,000.—A.H.D.