Silver Dust meets expectations as a Louisiana Stakes winner

January 18, 2020 05:35pm
Silver Dust meets expectations as a Louisiana Stakes winner
Photo: Hodges Photography/Jan Brubaker

Silver Dust made his first start since September both a promising and professional return to the races Saturday when he stalked and pounced for a decisive win in Fair Grounds’ Grade 3, $100,000 Louisiana Stakes.

Under Jack Gilligan, the 6-year-old son of Tapit made the race his third carer stakes victory following scores last season in the local Mineshaft Handicap (G3) and Mountaineer’s West Virginia Governor’s Stakes (G3).

Transferred midway through his career to trainer Bret Calhoun, the Tom Durant-owned Silver Dust looked like a key player in future graded events this spring in Louisiana.

"He's come a long way," Calhoun said. "He's always shown a tremendous amount of talent. I was really excited about him a couple of years ago, and he just never did get there in the afternoons. He's finally got very, very consistent and starting to live up to who we thought he was."

Silver Dust was patient to sit off Gun It’s opening half mile in 48.16, chasing about two lengths behind until he engaged through the far turn of the 1 1/16-mile feature. Silver Dust headed his rival off the turn and rolled across the wire while widening his margin of victory.

The final time was 1:43.29 with Blended Citizen nipping Gun It for the runner-up spot in a field of six familiar older horses. Roiland, Tone Broke and Kukulkan completed the order.

"The race worked out perfectly today," said Gilligan, Silver Dust's rider. "I'm lucky he's a big, strong horse. I was able to use him to kind of get the position I wanted into the first turn. He settled.

"Bret and I are really happy with how he's been working recently, so we were confident he was going to run a big race today."

My Boy Jack, a familiar name from the 2018 Kentucky Derby, and Captivating Moon scratched in an event newly upgraded to its Grade 3 status in 2020.

Silver Dust’s record improved to 6-7-2 in 25 career starts. He also did one better than in last year’s Louisiana, where the gelding was a runner-up.

As a 3-5 favorite, he returned $3.20 Saturday.


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