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Silver Max keeps cool in Virginia Derby

Even faced with a surprise challenge, Silver Max kept his cool. An out-of-control longshot had overtaken Silver Max down the backstretch Saturday night in the 1 1/4-mile Virginia Derby, a development that often spells doom for a front-running type.

But Silver Max, ridden by Robby Albarado, maintained an even pace, regained the lead entering the far turn, and then had enough left to defeat Lucky Chappy by a length in the 15th running of the Grade 2, $600,000 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs in New Kent, Va.

“That was an adventure,” said trainer Dale Romans, who was on hand from Saratoga. “This is a special horse. He proved he can handle the mile and a quarter. It’s going to take a real good horse to beat him.”

Silver Max now has won six straight races, all on turf, and will head to the Aug. 18 Secretariat Stakes as a major contender for Romans and owners Mark Bacon and Dana Wells. He returned $3.80 as  the favorite in a field of eight 3-year-olds after finishing in 2:04.05 over a yielding turf.



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