Mark Bacon and Dana Wells’ Silver Max went to
the front early and never was threatened in winning the 21st running of the $238,200
American Turf Presented by RAM (Grade II) by 2 ¾ lengths over Travel
Advisory on Friday afternoon at Churchill Downs.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano and trained by Dale
Romans, Silver Max won his third consecutive race on turf, including a
score in the Transylvania (GIII) last month at Keeneland.
Silver Max, a Kentucky-bred son of Badge of Silver out of
the Kissin Kris mare Kissin Rene, ran the 1 1/16 miles on a Matt Winn Turf
Course rated as firm in 1:41.10.
The victory was worth $137,346 and increased Silver Max’s
earnings to $306,821 with a record of 10-4-5-0.
Silver Max returned $12.40, $7 and $5. Travel Advisory,
ridden by Manny Cruz, returned $21.60 and $11.60 with Howe Great
finishing third another three-quarters of a length back under John Velazquez
and paying $4.80 to show.
Completing the field in order were Finnegans Wake, Look
At the Time, Coalport, Gung Ho, Tones (IRE), Blueskiesnrainbows,
Scatman, Flashy Dresser and Silver Menace. Star Channel
unseated jockey Javier Castellano at the head of the stretch.
Castellano was unhurt and cleared to ride the following
race, the 138th
Kentucky Oaks, on morning-line favorite Grace Hall.
AMERICAN TURF QUOTES
RAFAEL BEJARANO (Jockey, Silver Max, first) – “My horse was much the best in the
race. He got to the lead pretty easy and he showed me a really big kick in the
On the delay: "I wasn't concerned about the rain on the course. I
know he has run on an off turf course in the past so I wasn't worried about
DALE ROMANS (Trainer, Silver Max, first) – “This is a really nice horse. This
is a really super turf horse. I didn’t care about the jockey situation on a
business level or on a jockey level. I was concerned for my friend, but
everything else was going to be easy – you just go to the front and hang on.
And that’s what Rafael did – just what we told him in the paddock – just open
up a couple down the backside and he’s got great stamina.
“Every once in a while you get those horses that can do it
(consistently win on the front end over the turf), and I can two of them –
Little Mike and him – and they just seem to get stronger as the race goes on.
It is a rare quality.
“It was all mental with him. I don’t think he understood competing
early in his career. When he figured it out, though, he figured it out.”
Where next? “I don’t know. A mile-and-a-quarter in Virginia maybe? We’re
going to have to sit down and think about it. Maybe stay here for the Jefferson
Was the weather delay a concern? “It wasn’t a concern at all. These
are stakes horses and they have good minds about them and they can handle
Mother Nature. But they had to do what they had to do just to keep everybody
safe. It didn’t bother anything.”
KELLYN GORDER (Trainer, Travel Advisory, second) – “This is the horse (Silver Max) that
beat us at Keeneland (in the Transylvania). We were hoping the pace would be
more contested. The leader just got his own way. The one thing (jockey) Manny
(Cruz) told me is this horse is going to love a mile and a quarter to a mile
and a half. Overall we are really pleased.”
JOHN VELAZQUEZ (Jockey, Howe Great, third): “We had a perfect trip. He handled
it OK. With a little rain, the track is a little slick, so he was running a
little spotty. He was not sure about it.
“I saved ground right away. I was right inside in the first
turn so it didn’t really hurt him.”
GRAHAM MOTION (Trainer, Howe Great, third): John said he was really slipping.
The turf seemed very greasy and he said he felt very unsure of himself.
Otherwise, he ran a very good race. He’s a very solid horse. He had a very
tough post today and he kind of broke out, but Johnny said that didn’t affect
him as mcuhc as the greasy turf.”