Silver Edition takes on six challengers in the Swale Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 2 at Gulfstream Park.

Silver Edition takes on six challengers in the Swale Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 2 at Gulfstream Park.

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Silver Edition Primed for Swale

The Silver Deputy colt is the main Derby hope for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

Silver Edition, runner-up in the Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II), will look to put himself back on the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) trail when he takes on six challengers in the $150,000 Swale Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 2 at Gulfstream Park.

The Silver Deputycolt looks to be one of the lone Derby contenders in the barn of Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, who has captured racing’s biggest prize four times. Though he was a length behind Hutcheson winner Smooth Air Jan. 5 on a muddy track, the bay colt earned solid speed figures in his first start as a 3-year-old while dueling with the pacesetter, and more importantly, showed big improvement off his seventh-place allowance finish at Churchill Downs Nov. 24.

Lukas said a minor injury had a lot to do with that poor performance. “He popped a gravel on his hind foot in that allowance race, and that can be painful,” Lukas said. “It didn’t show up until after the race, so that had more to say about that race than anything else.

“In the Hutcheson, he ran like we expected him to. He took all the heat and I don’t think he really saw the horse (Smooth Air) on his outside. That is the biggest problem sometimes with blinker horses. But he galloped past the other horse after the wire, so we were pleased.”

Bred in Kentucky by Larry Johnson, Silver Edition broke his maiden at Belmont Park in September, then was entered in the Champagne Stakes (gr. I), in which he finished a well-beaten fifth in a race that propelled War Pass to his Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old campaign. Out of the Meadowlake mare Sincerely, Silver Edition was purchased by Thomas Van Meter II for $270,000 at the Keeneland 2006 September yearling sale.

Lukas said he has a couple of other late-blooming colts that might give him a shot at this year’s Derby, including the unraced Proud Citizencolt, Proud Dawn, but admits Silver Edition is his best hope as of now.

“I would say he is our top prospect,” Lukas said. “He is a May 5 baby, so we have to give him a chance. He has already had a nice growth pattern since the fall, growing four inches. He’s just coming into his own now, so I look for a big effort in the Swale. We’ll look for a two-turn race if he does well here.”

Breaking from post five, Silver Edition will have Cornelio Velasquez in the irons.

Silver Edition’s main competition in the 6 1/2-furlong Swale could come from Coal Play, who was a disappointing seventh in the Hutcheson, or West Point Stable’s Wincat, a 6 ¾-length winner in his debut.

Coal Play, owned by Robert LaPenta, was thought to be one of the many colts with a Derby chance for trainer Nick Zito. But the son of Mineshaft  has won just one of four starts thus far, and was never a factor in the Hutcheson. Eddie Castro rides from the outside post.

Wincat, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, made a dazzling debut Dec. 28 at Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack, going gate-to-wire under Jeremy Rose while completing six furlongs in an impressive 1:09.24. The Hold That Tigercolt was purchased by West Point for $100,000 at the OBS February 2007 selected sale of 2-year-olds in training. He was bred in Pennsylvania by Paula Capestro Bloodstock.

$150,000 Swale Stakes(gr. II, Race 6, 3:40 p.m.), Three-Year-Olds, 6 1/2 Furlongs (Dirt)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey

1. Mr. Foz, 116, (No Rider)
2. Eaton's Gift, 116, Kent J. Desormeaux
3. Surrealdeal, 116, Manoel R. Cruz
4. St. Joe, 116, Eibar Coa
5. Silver Edition, 116, Cornelio H. Velasquez
6. Wincat, 116, John R. Velazquez
7. Coal Play, 116, Eddie Castro