Wise Dan has
been unstoppable for over a year now. In his last nine races, no one has beaten
the Titan of the Turf to the wire. All that changed today, though, thanks to
Mother Nature. A heavy deluge drenched picturesque Keeneland, turning the
polytrack to a wet mess and causing the Shadwell Turf Mile to come off the turf.
has never been an issue for Wise Dan, who holds a course record for 9 furlongs
over Keeneland’s polytrack main strip. Despite the change in surface, everyone
was confident that Wise Dan’s win streak would continue, and bettors sent him
off as the 1-2 favorite. The move to the main track also changed the distance
of the race, taking it from a mile flat to a mile and a sixteenth.
A break in
the rain meant that fans and jockeys alike had a better view than in the races
immediately prior to the Shadwell in which you could barely see inches in front
of you. Breaking from the very inside and second from the outside,
Argentinia-bred Winning Prize and Silver Max went straight out for the
lead, but Silver Max won the battle for the lead despite Winning Prize’s post
advantage. From the far outside, Wise Dan broke well to move up into a nice
stalking position, but Hogy and Handsome Mike were right there, floating him
about 4-5 wide. On the front end, Silver Max set a fairly brisk pace, putting
the opening quarter up in 23:79 and the half up in 46:73.
home, Silver Max continued to look strong and sure on the lead while Hogy began
to fade. Multiple graded stakes winner Willcox Inn began his bid from the back of the field while the reigning Horse of
the Year made his move up the center of the course. With jockey Robby Albarado
steadily urging him on, Silver Max repelled Wise Dan’s bid, not letting the
chestnut gelding within a length of him. The stubborn colt crossed the wire a 1
¼-length winner as the second betting choice. He stopped the clock in 1.42:06
and paid $17.00/$4.40/$4.00.
($2.60/$2.10) was the best of the rest in second followed by a quickly closing
Willcox Inn ($4.80) in third. Argentina’s best turf miler could only manage
a 4th with the surface and distance change, and the order of finish
was completed by Coalport, Skyring, Summer Front, Hogy, Turralure, and Handsome
win today announced that he truly has returned to his early 3-year old form.
Last year the Badge of Silver colt won 6 straight races before tailing off and
finishing off the board in every start between August 2012 and June 2013. He
finally made it back to the winner’s circle in an overnight stakes, but then
dropped his next race. Since his 3rd in the Cornhusker, Silver Max
has been perfect. The colt still does not have that elusive Grade 1 victory, however. Due to the surface change, the Shadwell was downgraded
from Grade 1 to Grade 2.
Turf Mile was to be a “Win and You’re In” championship race for the Breeders’ Cup
Mile, but lost that designation with the surface switch. Wise Dan already has a berth by virtue of his course record setting win
in the Woodbine Mile last out.
The Breeders' Cup has elected to reinstate entry fee benefits to the connections of Shadwell Turf Mile winner Silver Max and G3 Bourbon Stakes winner Poker Player. However, neither will be granted an automatic berth to their respective races and will have to qualify on the basis of Breeders' Cup points or through the racing directors and secretaries panel selection. According to the Breeders' Cup rules, an automatic berth cannot be awarded to the winner of a challenge race that is taken off turf. However, since no horses were scratched and the American Graded Stakes Committee reinstated the original grades for both races, the Breeders' Cup elected to reinstate entry fee awards.