When the gate opens next Saturday for the Grade 2, $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap, it's a pretty strong likelihood Silver Max will be easy to spot, making the lead.
of the top turf 3-year-olds last year, the gray son of Badge of Silver
signaled he has regained his imposing form last time out, wiring the
field in the Grade 3 Oceanport on July 28 at Monmouth Park, winning by 5
¾ lengths and earning a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 102.
"He's just back to his old self, and when he's good, he's really good," trainer Dale Romans said.
2012, Silver Max strung together six straight victories, with stakes
wins in the Grade 3 Transylvania at Keeneland, the Grade 2 American Turf
at Churchill Downs and the Grade 2 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs.
The shortest margin of victory was a length.
the streak was snapped when he finished fifth in the Grade 1
Secretariat, Romans gave Silver Max seven weeks off and then tried him
against older horses in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland. The
colt finished ninth to Horse of the Year Wise Dan and was put away for
ran him hard last year, and we probably squeezed the lemon a little
bit, and we had to get him freshened up," Romans said. "It was his
3-year-old year, so you only get so many shots at those straight
3-year-old big-money races, so we tried to hit them all while he was
Max came back slowly this year, finishing fifth in a tough Grade 3
Appleton at Gulfstream Park and then fading in a rematch with Wise Dan
in the Grade 1 Turf Classic on Kentucky Derby Day over yielding ground
at Churchill Downs.
Silver Max won an off-the-turf stakes race by 9 ½ lengths, Romans
considered that maybe Silver Max could also be a dirt horse, so he sent
him to the Grade 3 Cornhusker Handicap on June 29 at Prairie Meadows.
Silver Max made the pace but gave way and finished third.
ran really well in the off-the-turf race, and it would open up a lot of
doors if he could do it in a real race, and there wasn't anything [on
grass] he was missing," Romans said.