Race of the Week 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Is Silver Max championship material?

Silver Max Arlington Classic
Photo: Four Footed Fotos

It’s Million Week, Racefans! Highlighted by two of the most important races on the American turf landscape, in the Arlington Million, and female counterpart, the Beverly D. Stakes, Million Day can be easily called the most important day of grass racing in the nation. Including the brand new American St. Leger, there will be four major races for turf lovers to celebrate Saturday at the Suburban Chicago race place. Last of the big four, but certainly not least this year, is the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes. The race may be restricted to three-year-olds, but the field has come up anything but limited. As a matter of fact, the one horse I am looking most forward to seeing run on the big day is Silver Max, and as good as the speedy turf runner has been this year; I am seriously considering whether the bargain basement $20,000 yearling purchase is quickly progressing into a champion.


When the three-year-old son of Badge of Silver enters the starting gate as the likely favorite in the $500,000 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park, it will mark his seventh consecutive race on the turf, following a failed attempt against Algorithms and Hansen in the Gulfstream slop. In each of his last six races he has knocked his competition off their hooves with consistent free-wheeling displays of talent and speed. 


Owned by Mark Bacon and Dana Wells, Silver Max sports a 10-7-3-0 record on the sod. After showing promise with three second place finishes in his three races on the lawn as a juvenile, the Dale Romans trainee scored a sharp victory in a maiden race on Gulfstream Park's turf course to begin the year. His one attempt on the dirt this year, in the Grade 3 Holy Bull, resulted in a fifth place finish. After returning to turf, the rest, as they say, has been history. His excellent adventure began while still in Florida with a 3 ¾ length runaway over allowance/optional claiming rivals at Gulfstream on March 9. Next came his first stakes win as he romped by 5 ½ length in Keeneland's Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes.


My first opportunity to see him in person came on Kentucky Oaks Day, and he proved well worth the wait. His 2 ¾ length score that day told me that he was much more than a one-hit wonder, as there was some serious competition in the Grade 2 American Turf at Churchill Downs. I was there again to see Silver Max in his fourth straight victory as he waltzed to a never-in-doubt, two length score in the Arlington Classic. After all of these wins at 1 1/16 miles, he dropped down to a mile for the Oliver Stakes, and all he did was break the track record, completing a mile over the Indiana Downs' turf course in 1:33 4/5, leaving future American Derby winner, Cozzetti, in his wake by nearly seven lengths in the process.


His most recent race may be the most telling of all, as he was not only tested on yielding turf, but also at the extended distance of 1 ¼ miles. He passed the test with flying colors, despite dealing with a horse who rushed past him on the backstretch due to saddle slippage, winning the Grade 2 Virginia Derby by a measured length against a solid field.


We now know that Silver Max can handle different courses, (his win streak has come at six different tracks) different course conditions, and at distances up to ten furlongs. Now we have seeing him run against even stronger competition to look forward to, and the Secretariat will definitely take things up a notch. In his first Grade 1 stakes affair, Silver Max will face the likes of Summer Front, (undefeated on the turf) and Daddy Long Legs (winner of the UAE Derby.)


The old pro, Acclamation, may be the current King of American turf, but Silver Max is simply doing too much to be ignored, and a win in the Secretariat on Saturday will move him one step closer to the pinnacle of U.S. grass racing. 



... And for much more about Arlington Million Day, visit Chicago Dark Horse now! 


comments powered by Disqus

Older Comments about Is Silver Max championship material?...

Also he has yet to win a G1
Well take a look how silver max faired in the Holy Bull... Plus hes beaten who? Travel advisory,situational ethics,sachem spirit, cozzetti, and lucky chappy...Not quite the same as BODE,CREATIVE C,DULLAHAN,or UNION RAGS.. IMO Hes pretty good but IHA has it in the bag.
He's turf though. Triple A ball clubs can't win the MLB world series.
I agree with you FloridaF. I just think people seem to throw away 3 year olds who don't race in the Triple Crown. He most Likely would need another G1 and then the Breeders Cup race to win it!
If Silver Max wins this one, then I personally am okay with him being in the discussion for 3-yo honors. However, I would still maintain that he would need more G1 wins to de-throne I'll Have Another.
to clarify as well, I love I'll Have Another and think he would of won the Belmont by 2 lengths at least!
I think if he wins this race againist a great field, he should be in the discussion for 3 year old of the year. I know, I know, I'll Have Another won 4 grade 1's but racing all year should count for something. Summer Front could also join the discussion if he wins!
He is IMO the BEST turf horse in america. Although he has not won a G1 yet, he has shown no reason why he can't win one. If he wins this race he IS the Turf horse of the year.
I should add that he definitely needs to add some G1 wins to his record, starting with the G1 Secretariat Stakes. A win against his elders would seal the deal then.
As far as 3-yo turf runners go, he's at the top of his class; overall, he's in a tie with several older turf males according to the point system I have concocted. I haven't finished going over everything just yet, but Silver Max could definitely rise to the top if he continues to dominate on turf for the remainder of the year.
Although I see Silver Max and Daddy Long Legs as much the best (on paper), because those two have a similar running style they might set too strong a pace up front, especially on the softer turf. Class will tell...
Only way to beat Max is to send a speed demon after him. Even that might not work.
That jockey cam was good, after about 20 secs I had the volume up and felt like I was riding the horse, lol
Jump on Silver Max for a gallop. Ride the Race my friends! http://youtu.be/E6ZFzpZFEVQ?hd=1
If Handsome Mike runs, I curious to see if he can keep up with Silver Max early. Probably not, but could make for some nice payouts if he can. Without looking at any PPs yet, leaning toward Summer Front & Bayrir. Aga Khan always means business during the Festival!
I really hope he does well in the Secretariat. I would love to see him come into the Breeder's Cup Turf to help carry the Stars and Stripes (with Accalamation) against all the Euro invaders.
Maybe another Kitten’s Joy. He’s fast as evidenced when he set the turf mile track record of 1.33.88 in his easy victory in the Oliver Stakes at Indiana. He likes the Arlington turf as evidenced when he won the Arlington Classic Stakes in 1.41.87, .87 off the track record set way back in 1992. He also won the 10F Virginia Derby (like Kitten’s Joy) and this on a yielding turf. And now, like Kitten’s Joy, he’s going to tackle the G1, 10F Secretariat. Here’s hoping he’s a G1 turf star who can run at classic turf distances (one mile and 10F to 12F) in the making. The only thing I’m concerned with is his penchant for running on the pace.
Silver Max is certainly in the mix for TURF championship.
Couldn't agree with you more, Chris...this tenacious 3 year-old will be fully loaded Saturday and he has the look of a future champion.

Related Pages

      Connect With Brian

Me On Facebook
Follow Me On Twitter


 ZATT's Star of the Week 

World of Trouble

Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


Related Stories

Best of the Blogs

Top Stories