Silver Dust holds off Kukulkan in West Virginia Governor's Cup

By Tom LaMarra/Mountaineer
August 03, 2019 08:23pm
Silver Dust holds off Kukulkan in West Virginia Governor's Cup
Photo: Coady

Tom Durant’s Silver Dust, who finished fifth in the 2017 West Virginia Derby in his one previous appearance at Mountaineer, made up for it with a victory Saturday in the Grade 3, $200,000 West Virginia Governor’s Cup at 1 1/16 miles.

Ridden by Jack Gilligan—his only mount of the day—Silver Dust sat just behind the dueling pair of Exclamation Point and Kukulkan through moderate fractions.

The Bret Calhoun trainee took over three-wide entering the stretch, was in close quarters with a gritty Kukulkan in the lane and edged away to win by a half-length in 1:43.85 for the distance on a track rated fast.

Silver Dust had to survive stewards’ inquiry and an objection by Corey Lanerie, who rode the Mexican-bred champion Kukulkan, for interference in the stretch.

After the stewards let the result stand, the connections of Kukulkan congratulated Calhoun for Silver Dust’s Victory.

“I thought it went very well,” Calhoun said. “He was very professional like Jack said. He can be a real handful—in the paddock and around the (starting) gate, but he did everything right today.

“There have been times he has hung (in the stretch), but today he went gamely to the wire.”

It has been a good year for the 5-year-old Tapit gelding, who won the Mineshaft Stakes (G3) and finished second in the New Orleans Handicap (G2).

In his start before the Governor’s Cup, he finished second, beaten a head, in the Michael G. Schaefer Memorial Stakes at Indiana Grand.

The Governor’s Cup score pushed Silver Dust’s career earnings to $594,777. He was bred in Kentucky by Don Alberto Corporation.

 

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