Over a turf course rated good, the gray With Approval gelding recorded his 10th lifetime win while halting a 10-race losing streak for trainer Dallas Stewart in the 1 1/2-mile event. Silverfoot's last win came in the Louisville Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs May 29, 2006. The victory here was his first in six outings this year.
The outsiders Telling and Canela, ran second and third, respectively, one length apart. The winning time was 2:30.40.
Ridden by Rene Douglas for owner Chrysalis Stables, Silverfoot trailed the first half-mile. Canela, on the inside, and Rumor Has It and A.P. Xcellent to his outside, took the early lead. By the time they completed the opening quarter-mile in a slow :25.32, 48-1 shot Rumor Has It was able to get control of the pace, clicking off quarter-mile splits of :49.56 and 1:14.28 while building a nine-length lead over Canela on the backstretch in spite of the lax fractions.
By the time they had completed the mile in 1:39.92, the back markers were moving into position, with Silverfoot making good ground along the inside. Rumor Has It faded quickly in the stretch as Silverfoot challenged, and the winner had things his own way through the lane under urging from Douglas. Only Telling, ridden by Eusebio Razo Jr., made much headway late after joining the leaders at the top of the stretch.
“I took my time with him,” said Douglas, who was aboard Silverfoot for the first time. “I did something different with him. I stayed on the rail. The past performances showed that he usually makes his move on the outside. At the three-eighths pole, he knew he was the man. I said to myself, ‘It’s a little early to pull the trigger and I know he’s 8 years old but if you want to go, then go.’ He was a champion today.”
Canela held third by 1 1/4 lengths over Cloudy's Knight, the 122-pound high weight and 2-1 second choice.
Lattice, the 3-2 favorite in the nine-horse field, was not a factor, finishing last while getting an inside trip.
“I don’t know what happened,” said Julien Leparoux, who rode the beaten favorite. “He was good during the race and then he had no response at the end.”
Silverfoot was out of action for more than 14 months between November 2006 and last January. He had not finished in the money in his six starts this year and was coming off a fourth-place finish in the Rossig Gold Stakes at 1 3/16 miles over the Arlington course June 7. He improved his 31-race lifetime record to 10-1-2 with earnings of $846,015. The Independence Day victory was worth $102,000 to his connections.
The winner carried 114 pounds and paid $12, $6.80, and $4.60 as the third choice. He topped a healthy $2 exacta of $131.40 with Telling ($11.60, $7.40), who was making his graded stakes debut for trainer Steve Hobby. Canela, with James Graham aboard, was also stepping way up in this spot for Michael Maker and was $12.80 to show.
Cloudy's Knight was followed by Borobudor, Major Rhythm, Rumor Has It, A.P. Xcellent, and Lattice.
Bred in Kentucky by Stephanie Clark, Silverfoot is out of the Silver Ghost mare Northern Silver.