Tom Durant's Silver Dust (7-2) was determined in Saturday's Grade 3 West Virginia Governor's Stakes at Mountaineer, turning back several challenges from 3-1 favorite and Mexican Triple Crown winner Kukulkan to win by about a half-length on the wire. The 5-year-old Tapit gelding, ridden by Jack Gilligan for trainer Bret Calhoun, covered 1 1/16 miles over the fast main track in 1:43.85.
Exclamation Point jumped well from the gate to take the lead, but Kukulkan was right alongside to keep him honest through fractions of :24.54 and :48.82. Silver Dust was three-wide in third while Snapper Sinclair kept pace along the inside around the backstretch.
Silver Dust went three-wide in the far turn to draw even with Kukulkan on the lead after Exclamation Point dropped out of it. Silver Dust got his head in front turning for home, but Kukulkan battled back fiercely several times along the inside. At the wire, it was Silver Dust by a short half-length over Kukulkan. Snapper Sinclair angled off the rail for the stretch run but was not able to make up ground late and had to settle for third. Exulting finished fourth.
Bred in Kentucky by Don Alberto, Silver Dust was a $510,000 juvenile purchase at the OBS March sale. He earned his first graded stakes win earlier this year in the G3 Mineshaft, and the West Virginia Governor's Stakes win improves his overall record to 5-6-2 from 23 starts for earnings of nearly $600,000.
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