It didn’t take long for Silver Max to impose his will on the
Oliver Stakes at Indiana Downs on Wednesday night. In fact, Silver Max
dominated the field before the gates even opened. Just one look at the tote board prior to the
5th race Wednesday night, just one look in the paddock told the
story. Looking around at all the open
stalls for horses who were SUPPOSED to be running in the Oliver said it all.
The Badge of Silver colt simply scared them off.
The original field was set for 12 horses with 10 betting
interests. After it was confirmed that Silver Max would stay in the race the field was quickly
scratched down to 6 horses with 5 betting interests. Howe Great decided to stay in New York and
look for graded stakes company, an easier spot if you ask me. The lone
Indiana bred, Senor Rain scratched most likely to run in the Snack stakes for 3
year old Indiana breds this Wednesday.
Silver Max didn’t care who he was running against or what
state he was in, all he cared about was showing the horses left in the field
his rear end. Max broke strong under local jockey Victor Lebron who picked up
the mount for Robby Albarado. The Dale
Romans charge quickly spurted clear going into the first turn taking a
comfortable 2 length lead. Victor relaxed Max to an early quarter of 23.96. A Z
Ridge attempted to pressure Max from the start to no avail. Travel Advisory was closer
than normal in this short field, sitting 3rd through the early
stages. Max went 47.11 for the half and 1:10.64 for six furlongs. As they
reached the quarter pole Travel Advisory moved to the outside of Max’s flank
attempting to make a run at him, the badge of Silver colt was just too
special. Max drew off to annihilate the
field by 6 ¼ lengths, setting a new track record of 1:33.88 making his odds of
1/9 look like an absolute gift. Max's stablemate, Cozzetti
closed to out nod Travel Advisory for 2nd, A Z Ridge finished 4th.
I stood behind the winners circle so I could get a perfect view. I watched patiently as
Dale Romans waited for his victorious colt to return from battle. I listened as
one of the owner’s or maybe it was Romans, asked Victor, and I’m paraphrasing, “So,
will he go a mile and a quarter? Victor’s response, “All Day.” This makes me think he’ll be making his next
start in the grade I Secretariat or the grade II Virginia Derby, although at the moment
I didn’t care. I was just enjoying the present. I was standing with two of my good horse
racing buddies Roger and Matt as we all talked in unison and in agreement, that we
just witnessed the best 3 year old turf horse in the country.
There were several reasons to be happy Wednesday night. I
was happy to be with friends and to see a great field compete in the Oliver. I
was ecstatic to see Silver Max win so impressively, I was even more happy for
one of my favorite jockeys, Victor Lebron to get the pick up mount and deliver
with a great ride to take home a huge purse. It was sweet redemption for Victor
after losing the mount on Hansen in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year.
Seeing Victor win on Silver Max was a great reward for the
Indiana Downs patrons. I’m not talking about the people that drove in just for
this race who only come to Indy Downs once or twice a year. I’m talking about
us “loyalists,” guys like Roger and Matt that are there day in and day out
supporting the track and who are burning
to see great racing and great horses. Wednesday night, Matt, Roger, myself and
anyone else that witnessed the Oliver were repaid with a maximum amount of