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Silver Max Regains Imposing Form

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.

 

One 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.

 

In 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.

 

After 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 the year.

 

"We 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 doing well."

 

Silver 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.

 

When 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.

 

"He 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.

 

 

 

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