Silverfoot Squeezes Out Louisville 'Cap Victory

(from Churchill Downs report)
Silverfoot, with Robby Albarado aboard, squeezed through tight quarters at the top of the stretch, then powered down the lane to nip Rochester at the wire for a nose victory in the $112,400 Louisville Handicap (gr. IIIT) on Memorial Day at Churchill Downs.

Silverfoot, who was making his debut in stakes competition, withstood a claim of foul to win for the fourth time in seven starts this season and paid $10.40, $5, and $3.

"I got squeezed a little turning for home but once he got through he prevailed as the best one," Albarado said. "He ran a big race. I rode him with a lot of confidence."

Rochester, with Cornelio Velasquez aboard, gained a 1 ½-length advantage the upper stretch stretch before grudgingly giving way to finish second in the Louisville for the second consecutive year and returned $6, and $3.20.

Trainer Jonathan Sheppard said Rochester had to move earlier than Velasquez wanted.

"It's a long stretch here and he just got there (to the front) a little bit too soon, Sheppard said. "But he ran very gamely. He got a little bit tired right at the end."

Ballingarry, the even-money favorite ridden by Mark Guidry, rallied wide in the stretch to finish another 1 ¼-lengths back in third and paid $2.40 to show.

Owned by Stephanie Clark's Chrysalis Stables, LLC, Silverfoot, a 4-year-old gelded son of With Approval, covered the 1 3/8 miles on yielding turf in 2:17.63 and earned $69,688 to increase his lifetime bankroll to $162,063. Dallas Stewart notched his sixth stakes victory at Churchill Downs.

"It was tight," Stewart said. "It was very questionable as to whether or not he was going to get through there and then be able to level off when he got out of there, because he hung on his left lead a little bit when he got through there and Robby got him over and pushed him on. He showed a great bit of tenacity to win the thing."

The gray gelding improved his record to 4-0-1 in six races on the grass, including a victory in an allowance race at Churchill on May 8. He is unbeaten in three races at the Louisville track. He also won his career debut last fall over the dirt at Churchill.

Albarado, who scored his 24th career Churchill stakes win, settled Silverfoot into sixth in the early going as longshot Feel the Wind took the field of nine through a slow pace with fractions of :25.90 for the quarter-mile, :50.03 for the half and 1:15.36 for three-quarters of a mile.

As the field raced through the final turn, Albarado angled Silverfoot into position, but bumped with Rochester on his inside as he moved through an opening at the top of the stretch. The bumping forced Silverfoot to come out on Feel the Wind and jockey John McKee, who lodged a rider's objection.

Art Variety and Kim Loves Bucky deadheated for fourth, followed by Feel The Wind, Gottabeachboy, Dia Alegre and Spruce Hero.

(Chart, Equibase)