Silverfoot Repeats in Louisville Handicap

Edited from track reports
Silverfoot, ridden by Robby Albarado, regained the lead at the top of the stretch and then held off a late rush by Rochester for a three-quarter length Memorial Day win in the $110,400 Louisville Handicap (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds and up at Churchill Downs.

Silverfoot, the favorite in the field of seven, became the first repeat winner of the Louisville since Chorwon, who scored three consecutive wins from 1997-99. The winner covered 1 3/8-miles on "firm" turf in a leisurely 2:18.77 and paid $5.40, $3.20, and $2.20. Rochester, who finished second in the Louisville Handicap for the third consecutive year, was sixth on the backstretch under Pat Day, rallied in the turn and closed through the stretch to narrow the final margin and paid $4.20 and $2.60. Epicentre, with Brice Blanc aboard, was just another neck back and returned $2.60.

Stephanie Clark's Silverfoot, a 5-year-old gelded son of With Approval, is unbeaten in two starts this year and earned $68,448 to push his career total to $299,311. Trained by Dallas Stewart, Silverfoot is a perfect three for three on the Churchill grass and improved his career mark to seven wins in 12 starts, with a turf record of six wins in 10 attempts.

Silverfoot found himself in a peculiar situation as the veteran closer was on the lead in the early stages of the race, cutting pedestrian fractions of :26.98 for the quarter and :52.60 for the half-mile. Gottabeachboy, a 52-1 outsider ridden by John McKee, assumed the lead and took the field through the three-quarters of mile in 1:18.37 as Silverfoot shadowed in second place. As the field began to straighten for the stretch drive, Silverfoot accelerated to take advantage in the final eighth before the charging Rochester cut the margin at the wire.

Stewart completed a weekend sweep of Churchill Downs stakes races as he also saddled Molto Vita to capture the Winning Colors Stakes on Saturday. The win increased Stewart's total of career stakes victories at Churchill Downs to eight.

"He came by and he was on the lead down the stretch the first time around," said Stewart. "They went the first half in something crazy, and Ms. Clark (owner Stephanie Clark) said, 'Are we supposed to be on the lead?', and I said, 'Well, they're going real slow'. They were just galloping and he was real happy and he can gallop all day long. It worked out fine and he kicked it the last quarter. It's been a great weekend, winning this and the other with Molto Vita. We'll look at the Stars and Stripes (July 3, Arlington Park) or the Arlington Million (Aug. 13, Arlington Park)."

(Chart, Equibase)