Badge of Silver Romps in Risen Star

(from track report)
Badge of Silver vaulted into the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) picture with a dominating 10-length triumph over 11 rivals in the $150,000 Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) Sunday at Fair Grounds.

Owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trained by Ronny Werner, Badge of Silver exploded away from the field when he turned for home. His running time of 1:42.99 for 1 1/16 miles was .01 off the stakes record set by Zarb's Magic in 1996.

"We are elated. I have to give the credit to Ronny Werner," said Ken Ramsey, who flew over from Gulfstream Park after watching Ten Cents A Shine run sixth as the favorite in the Fountain of Youth (gr. I) Saturday. "This horse has all the potential in the world.

"Hopefully, this turns out to be a (Kentucky) Derby horse. His performance today was awesome. What else can you say? Ronny and his team just did a terrific job."

Ridden by Robby Albarado, Badge of Silver remained undefeated from three lifetime starts. The Risen Star was his first stakes race and his first start around two turns.

"He broke so good today I just got him to settle," said Albarado, who picked up his first Risen Star win. "He just relaxed for me and I felt I had a lot of horse from start to finish. You have to think since he finished so strong that he should get a little added distance."

Breaking from the 10th post position, Badge of Silver was outside of multiple Fair Grounds stakes winner Saintly Look going into the first turn.

Saintly Look kicked off fractions of :23.71 for the quarter-mile and :47.42 for the half-mile. Badge of Silver took the lead in the turn for home as Albarado hit the six-furlong mark in 1:12.10 and the mile in 1:36.68. At that point, the outcome was not in doubt.

"He was crying to run the whole race," Albarado said. "When Ronny staminizes that speed, he's gone be a helluva horse."

Badge of Silver gave Werner his second stakes victory at Fair Grounds. Wild Hits won the Sugar Bowl Stakes in 2000.

"He is the kind of horse you wake up in the morning to train," Werner said. "He really relaxed today and got the perfect trip. Let's hope he comes out of it okay and we'll take the next step (Louisiana Derby) with him."

Lone Star Sky, well placed throughout the race in third, gained second. Defrere's Vixen rallied gamely for the show spot.

Badge of Silver returned $7.80, $5.40, and $4.80 as the second choice in the wagering pool behind Indy Dancer.

Indy Dancer was caught wide going into the first turn and finished a non-threatening seventh as the 2-1 favorite.

Badge of Silver began the day at 50-1 in Pool I of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, but in the hour following his victory, he was bet down to 11-1, lowest of any individual betting interest. The field was made the 2-1 favorite.

Badge of Silver nearly doubled his bankroll with the $90,000 winner's check. The son of Silver Deputy has earned $139,225 from three starts.

Bred in Kentucky by Liberation Farm, Oratis Thoroughbreds, and Trackside Farm, Badge of Silver is the only winner from three foals out of the winning Silver Hawk mare Silveroo. The Ramseys purchased Badge of Silver for $85,000 from the Trackside Farm consignment to the 2001 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Sunday's card at Fair Grounds produced a handle from all sources of $6,538,325, highest on a Fair Grounds card since March 24, 2001.

(Chart, Equibase)