Tom Durant's Silver Dust has now won back-to-back editions of the G3 Mineshaft Stakes at the Fair Grounds, capturing this Saturday's contest by three-quarters of a length over Gun It. The 6-year-old son of Tapit ran 1 1/16 miles over the fast main track in 1:43.40, living up to his 9-5 favoritism. Brian Hernandez, Jr. rode the gelding to his second win in a row for trainer Bret Calhoun.
“We wish he was this good as a 3-year-old,” said Durant, laughing. “But in all seriousness, this is my first 6-year-old to race. I have raced a lot of horses and I've never raced one this age. He seems to just be getting better and better as we go and I'm hoping he can continue to impress us.”
Silver Dust was well-placed early just a few lengths off the leaders, saving ground along the rail in the first turn. Hernandez took him three-wide at the three-eighths pole to make his bid, and he was able to put away the game frontrunner Pirate's Punch in the lane. Gun It came rolling late on the wrong lead, but was unable to sustain his momentum and had to settle for second when Silver Dust crossed the line three-quarters of a length the best. Pirate's Punch held third, and Captivating Moon was fourth.
“This horse is just getting better and better,” said Hernandez, replacing the gelding's injured regular rider Jack Gilligan. “You just have to trust him. He is a little bit of a quirky horse from what I've seen. Jack has done a great job riding him and I was fortunate enough to fill in. I learned from watching replays to stay out of his way and give him the most comfortable trip I can. That's what we did today. He ran nice and when we turned for home he picked it up.”
Making his 2020 debut and first start since July 2019, Hofburg faded in the stretch and finished near the rear of the field.
Bred in Kentucky by the Don Alberto Corporation, Silver Dust is out of the stakes-winning Hard Spun mare Filare d'Oro. A $510,000 2-year-old purchase at the OBS March sale, Silver Dust struggled to find consistency in the early part of his career but started to round into his best form last year. The 2019 Mineshaft was his first graded stakes win, and the gelding has since added the G3 West Virginia Governor's Stakes and the G3 Louisiana Stakes to his resume. Overall, Silver Dust owns wins in seven of his 26 starts for earnings of over $820,000.
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