Silver Max Tops Champ Wise Dan in Off-Course Shadwell Mile

by | 10.05.2013 | 5:45pm
Silver Max defeats Wise Dan in the Shadwell Turf Mile

Mark Bacon and Dana Wells' Silver Max turned back the challenge of 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan at the top of the stretch to win the 28th running of the $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) by 1 ¼ lengths.

Because of heavy rain earlier in the afternoon, the race was taken off the turf course and run at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. More than 1½ inches of rain fell in the Keeneland area in a two-hour span after the storms began after 4 p.m.

Silver Max is trained by Dale Romans and was ridden by Robby Albarado. It was the second Shadwell Turf Mile victory for Romans, who won the race in 2008 with Thorn Song. Albarado earned his fourth victory in the race with his other scores coming on Nothing to Lose in 2004, Thorn Song and Court Vision in 2009.

The victory secured a berth for Silver Max to the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) to be held Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.

Albarado put Silver Max on the lead out of the gate and moved toward the rail from the No. 9 post position while Wise Dan was floated wide in the first turn. Silver Max carved out a first quarter-mile in :23.79 and the first half in :46.73 while running unopposed on the lead.

Meanwhile, John Velazquez had Wise Dan in the clear on the far outside and moved into second as the field approached the far turn. Wise Dan moved to within a length of the leader approaching the top of the stretch but could get no closer as Silver Max completed the distance in 1:42.06.

The victory was worth $450,000 and raised Silver Max's career earnings to $1,658,403 with a record of 22-11-5-1. Silver Max is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Badge of Silver out of the Kissin Kris mare Kissin Rene.

Silver Max returned $17, $4.40 and $4. Wise Dan returned $2.60 and $2.10 and finished 3 ½ lengths in front of Willcox Inn, who returned $4.80 to show under James Graham.

Winning Prize finished a neck back in fourth and was followed in order by Coalport, Skyring, Summer Front, Hogy, Turallure and Handsome Mike.

Saturday's attendance was 27,849.

“We want to thank all the fans who, despite the inclement weather stayed, throughout the afternoon and enjoyed some spectacular racing,” said Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason.

See the full chart here.

$750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1)


Dale Romans (winning trainer of Silver Max) 

On Silver Max's improved form in the past year

“He had management issues. I threw him to the wolves probably a little quicker than I should have, but we backed up and regrouped and he's strong this fall. We had a tired horse last fall – this fall we're just peaking.”


Robby Albarado (winning rider)

“He's got such a high cruising speed. Dale said, ‘Take it to them right away and let them catch you.' He's doing so well. The horse has been training forwardly – the best he's been doing since he started with him. Dale prepared him well this year with stretching his races out. He's a fresh horse.”


John Velazquez (rider of runner-up, 1-2 favorite and reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan)

“He ran a good race; he just didn't run his A game today. First time running on the Polytrack and it's really wet and it seemed like he was tiring from it today. He couldn't seem to get his (footing). After that he kept trying. At the three-eighths pole, I thought I was going to be in control, that (running down Silver Max) was going to be easy, but when I went after him, he (Silver Max) started running again. It was only a matter of time whether (Wise Dan) would handle the track. He handled the track OK, but the track is different today — a lot of water. He had to work harder. Other than that he kept trying and ran hard.”

Charlie LoPresti (trainer of Wise Dan)

“He was running hard and in his stalking position like he should be. Johnny said when he came out of the turn, that is where he usually drags him and takes it to him and I can tell inside the eighth pole that he was riding him and (Silver Max) just kept going. We weren't backing up any but we weren't gaining that ground.”

On whether the change in distance – from one mile on turf to 1 1/16 miles on the main track – made a difference

“No because he broke the track record here going a mile and an eighth. Maybe with the water on it, it was more sticky. That's what it looks like to me but I am not going to make any excuses. He ran a great race; he really did.”

“Johnny said (Silver Max) won fair and square – he just got loose on the front end.”


James Graham (rider of third-place finisher Willcox Inn)

“Great trip, saved all the ground, ran third. If (the race) had been on the grass and the grass was firm, I think he probably would have run in the same spot, but he ran his rear end off on it. He quickens better on the grass. His turn of foot is a little better on the grass.”


Garrett Gomez (rider of fourth-place finisher Winning Prize)

“We just didn't want to get hooked in a speed duel. He's never really been behind horses. He's always been in the clear so he was a little confused about what I wanted from him. Even so, he still ran good. A couple of times during the race I thought he was completely done because he was so confused he didn't know what I was asking of him. It was a learning experience. I think if circumstances had been a little different he would have run a little better.”

  • Andy

    This is a crime for the winning connections.It was to be a win and your in race.Then when they took it off of the turf it was no longer a win and your in.This horse should be in the B.C.turf mile anyway,why penalize him for something no one could control.Then the powers to be wonder why they are losing racegoers.

    • Knowitall

      I agree, it is suspect for BC to deny him the free entry based on off the turf to Poly when the field stayed intact, and given they make it up as they go for the most part, and it is just a marketing ploy. On the other hand, Silver Max earned more than enough to pay his way and will go to BC.

      • Hoops and Horses

        That rule is in place for ANY race that is scheduled for turf and is moved. Any such race that is supposed to carry “Win and You’re In” status that gets moved loses that status.

        What BC Ltd. COULD have done since the race stayed in tact is award the winner an auto berth in the Dirt Mile.

    • Lanie Wright Johnson

      makes sense to me…we were there…he couldn’t get his footing and all in all once he found himself he ran like a turbo…couldn’t make up the ground

  • FastBernieB

    So you market your race as a Breeders Cup win and your in. Trainers set up their horses programs to use the race as a stepping stone to the BC. You attract a solid field but then it rains. Horses run anyway because they’re not able to change their final BC prep race. But then you enforce the fine print. And bring the “bush league” status from which the sport suffers right to the forefront. Way to go BC and Keeneland.

    • Hoops and Horses

      That rule has always been in place for ALL such races. This was the rare case of such a race holding together even off the turf, more often than not, such races get reduced to short fields. That’s why it’s in place.

  • Tinky

    A Grade I race taken off the turf at a track that has a sand-based course designed precisely to handle such conditions, at a meet that lasts less than a month?

  • Kat

    It appeared to me that WD was laboring a little in the stretch. We know what WD can do on the polytrack here, but he was “stretching out” to 1 1/16, Silver Max has been running at 1 1/16 and 1 1/8 in all his recent races. I suspect it wasn’t WD’s A+ race. I like SM a lot, he’s a talented horse, but he ran one of his best races today, WD not so much. That’s OK, WD doesn’t need excuses, he’s earned his oats. Congrats to the winner and connections, Dale’s year is starting to pick up!

  • Lanie Wright Johnson

    Ahh..c’mon now…he didn’t pounce him. Dan clearly was having footing trouble..we were there…they got one and a half inches of rain in one and about a half hours…at one point we were being pelted almost like hail.Silver won fair and square cause Dan couldn’t find himself and when he did he turned it on in the stretch..just didn’t make up the ground. He got tired and I feared his reaction when they changed surfaces. He didn’t want to go in the gate either.Not his a game but you put that race on turf and run it again and he’d eat Silver

  • Convene

    Dan loses no luster in my eyes off this. He’s still the champ. I’m not making excuses either but he is, first and foremost, a grass horse so – who knows? I’m still a Wise Dan groupie and guess who I’ll be yelling for come BC Mile day!

  • Ida Le

    I was not able to watch any of the races yesterday and so I was quite taken aback when I saw the headline that Wise Dan had lost his race. I won’t be watching a replay either. And then I move further down and Groupie Doll lost her race! That’s horse racing for you…last Saturday, great day for my favorites…this Saturday, not so much!! Of course, my love and admiration for these wonderful Champions knows no bounds…

  • GodsFavor

    Hats off to Wise Dan! He did not have to run and they ran him at a longer distance on a very wet track! Had to help the smaller lighter horse ,Silver Max, who ran a great ran! That’s what it takes to beat the Champ!

  • Hoops and Horses

    It should be noted that this race LOST it’s “Win and You’re In” status according to DRF with the move to the main track.

    And for those who have been in some cases trashing Keeneland for taking the Shadwell Mile off the turf:

    Happened to watch the First Lady that occurred before this race, which was run in a deluge. This was NOT a decision Keeneland takes lightly, especially with a race as important as the Shadwell Mile. It’s quite likely the jockeys told Keeneland officials they would not ride over a turf course that was likely rapidly deteriorating between the First Ladyand Breeders’ Futurity, probably costing Keeneland a considerable amount in wagers. The jockeys do have the final say in that situation, and Keeneland will not overrule them in that position.

    I’m guessing Keeneland itself got a lot more than the .29″ of rain that was officially reported or even the 1 1/2″ reported by Keeneland to have hit. The Presidents Cup Golf that was being played not too far away in Dublin, Ohio experienced THREE weather delays as I understand it yesterday and had also had weather delays on Friday, with playing having to be suspended yesterday due to darkness.

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