Silver Max is solid gold in winning Grade 2 Bernard Baruch
By John Scheinman | 08/31/2013 06:17 PM ET
Earlier this week, trainer Dale Romans said he believed his 4-year-old turf ace Silver Max not only could recapture his top form but become one of the leading runners in the country.
After a sharp gate-to-wire score in the Grade 2, $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap on Saturday at
Saratoga Race Course, Romans knew his confidence was well-founded.
"I still feel the same way," Romans said in the winner's circle after Silver Max ran the 1 1/16-mile race in 1:42.31. "Last year, I might have overdone it with him. I ran him a lot of times in those 3-year-old races. He was a little tired at the end of the year. He's coming into the summer and fall a lot more fresh, and I think he could be by the end of the year one of the best turf horses around."
In a field of five over yielding turf for the Bernard Baruch, Silver Max faced far more pace pressure than Romans expected, as Tetradrachm chased through an opening quarter-mile in 23.88 seconds and a half in 47.34.
After six furlongs, Tetradrachm was finished, and Silver Max had a two-length lead at the top of the stretch. Saving ground throughout, jockey Rosie Napravnik turned loose long shot Paris Vegas for a stern drive, but they could never cut into the margin.
Silver Max won by two lengths, while Paris Vegas was 6 ¼ lengths clear of third-place finisher Tetradrachm. Turallure and So Long George completed the order of finish.
"They made him work a lot more today than I thought he would," Romans said. "If you had told me he was going to go that fast for the first [half-mile], I'd say he'd be 15 [lengths] in front. They made him run for it."
Jockey Robby Albarado said Silver Max doesn't need a lot of coaxing to get going.
"I try to be a quiet and patient passenger on him and let him do all the work," Albarado said. "They came to me a little earlier than I anticipated, at about the half-mile pole. But he's just got such a high cruising speed, and he holds it."
Silver Max proved himself one of the top 3-year-old turf horses in the country last year, ringing up a six-race winning streak that included victories in the Grade 3 Transylvania at Keeneland, the Grade 2 American Turf at Churchill Downs and the Grade 2 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs.
After a slow start to his 4-year-old season, Silver Max has gotten hot, taking three of his past four starts. Before the Bernard Baruch, he went gate-to-wire in the Grade 3 Oceanport at Monmouth Park.
With the victory, Silver Max, owned by Mark Bacon and Dana Wells, improved his lifetime record to 10 wins from 21 starts, with five seconds and a third. The $150,000 winner's purse increased his lifetime earnings to $1,208,403.