While the leading dirt runners of the 3-year-old division have fallen by the wayside, Silver Max steadily has been establishing dominance of the second-season runners on the turf. His victory July 21 in the Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) was his sixth consecutive triumph on the lawn, and he’s undefeated on that surface in 2012.
A $20,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky 2010 select yearling purchase, Silver Max was similarly consistent at 2, although initially that virtue was expressed in unfailingly missing the top spot, as he finished second in his first five starts. Two of those races were on the dirt and three on turf, the surface on which Silver Max finally broke his maiden, scoring by 3¼ lengths over a mile at Gulfstream Park in January. He ventured a hoof on the Triple Crown trail on his next outing, trying dirt again in the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) but finished fifth, beaten nearly 12 lengths as Algorithms upset 2-year champion Hansen in his sophomore campaign kickoff.
That effort proved to be Silver Max’s final start on dirt, and, since his permanent switch to the lawn, he has taken in succession a starter/optional claiming event at Gulfstream Park, the Transylvannia Stakes (gr. IIIT), by 5½ lengths; the American Turf Stakes (gr. IIT); the Arlington Classic Stakes; the Oliver Stakes, by 6 3/4 lengths over subsequent American Derby (gr. IIIT) scorer Cozzetti; and the Virginia Derby, which saw him overcome yielding ground and his first try at 10 furlongs to score by a length from Lucky Chappy.
Although he didn’t begin his career until the final day of July 2011, Silver Max already has made nearly as many starts as his sire Badge of Silver achieved in five seasons at the races. A son of Silver Deputy, Badge of Silver occasionally demonstrated a remarkable natural ability, but he was never able to make more than five starts in any one campaign. He was in action as early as April of his juvenile season, flashing home nine lengths clear over 4 1/2 furlongs at Keeneland. That proved be his only start at 2 but at 3, Badge of Silver returned to take a six-furlong allowance test by seven lengths and the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) by 10. Apparently a leading Kentucky Derby (gr. I) prospect, Badge of Silver was injured when unplaced in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II), and was not seen out again that term.
At 4, Badge of Silver made four starts in a season that saw an eight-month hiatus in mid-year, his 2004 campaign bookended by winning a six-furlong allowance at Fair Grounds in 1:08.8 in January and taking second in the Cigar Mile (gr. I) in November. Badge of Silver’s busy campaign was at 5 when a quintet of outings saw him take the New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) and Hal’s Hope Handicap (gr. III)—in which he set a track record for nine furlongs at Gulfstream Park—and a second in the National Jockey Club Handicap (gr. III).
Kept in training at 6, Badge of Silver took the San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT) on New Year’s Day on his turf debut. He then disappeared until the November’s NetJets Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT), where the Kenneth and Sarah Ramsay color-bearer contested the early pace before finishing a creditable third to Miesque’s Approval and Aragorn. Back on dirt, Badge of Silver ended his career with a second to another occasionally freakish talent, Discreet Cat , in the Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I).
Retired to Airdrie Stud at a $15,000 fee, Badge of Silver was represented by his first crop of 2-year-olds in 2010. That first crop has been headlined by Silver Medallion, winner of the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III), Ft. Lauderdale Stakes (gr. IIIT), Tropical Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT), and Eddie Logan Stakes; and by King Congie, successful in the Tropical Park Derby and third in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I). Silver Max, Peruvian champion Fly Lexis Fly, and Dougs Buddy are stakes winners from Badge of Silver’s second crop.
Silver Max is a half brother to the minor stakes winner True Kisses. Their dam Kissin Rene is a winning daughter of Kissin Kris and is closely related to Canadian champion 3-year-old colt Kiss a Native, who is by Kissin Kris out of a half sister to Kissin Rene. Second dam Monique Rene was a tough performer who won 29 of her 45 starts, scoring 15 times in stakes company, including two renewals of the Pan Zareta Handicap, as well as the Suthern Accent Stakes, Mardi Gras Handicap, and Chou Croute Stakes. She produced the graded stakes winner Prince of the Mt. (whose biggest score came in the grade III Ark-La-Tex Handicap) and is second and third dam of several other stakes winners, but is probably best-known as the granddam of the top-class 2-year-old and sprinter and successful sire Yes It's True.
Monique Rene’s dam and granddam produced little of note but her third dam Dancing Date was granddam of Arlington Handicap (gr. IT) victor Flying Target and Los Angeles Handicap (gr. II) scorer Big Band, and fourth dam of Argentine grade I winner Forever Cindy and multiple graded winner March Magic. From a family developed by Rex Ellsworth—breeder of Kentucky Derby-winneing Horse of the Year Swaps—and bred on the same sire-line cross as Swaps, Dancing Date was a sister to El Drag, who set a world record of 1:20.0 for seven furlongs, and also set a track mark for six furlongs when winning the Hollywood Premiere Handicap.
We can also note Monique Rene is inbred to the good tap-root mare Stephanie, who appears in the pedigree as the granddam of both Bolero (broodmare sire of Monique Rene’s sire Prince of Ascot) and Count Fleet’s brother Count Speed, the grandsire of Monique Rene’s dam.
Silver Max (TrueNicks-rated A++) is an example of the pattern of breeding a stallion back over his own broodmare sire line, as Badge of Silver is out of a mare by Roberto’s son Silver Hawk, where Kissin Kris is by the Roberto horse Kris S. The cross of Deputy Minister-line stallions with Roberto-line mares was one that took considerable time to gain traction, and although the cross’ first stakes winner, Curia Regis, appeared back in 1987, other than the Chilean grade I winner Espanoleto, we don’t find another stakes winner for the cross foaled until Silver On Silver in 1996.
Silver On Silver, winner of the 1999 Temperence Hill Handicap, was by Silver Deputy out of a Silver Hawk mare, a cross that was also to produce Badge of Silver and two other stakes winners from only 10 starters. Silver Deputy’s mold breaking extended to the Roberto line in general, as he also sired a total of eight stakes winners from only 35 starters out of mares by all sons of Roberto. Perhaps the key is Silver Deputy’s dam, Silver Valley, who is by Mr. Prospector (whose dam was bred similarly to the dam of Roberto) out of Seven Valleys, a mare whose sire was bred on a reverse Nasrullah/Turn-to cross to Roberto.