05/26/2012 6:15PM

Arlington: Silver Max all the way in Arlington Classic

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Silver Max, with Shaun Bridgmohan aboard, wins the Arlington Classic.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - The $125,000 Arlington Classic doesn't even have a grade anymore, but go ahead and try to find a better American 3-year-old grass horse at the moment than the Classic's winner, Silver Max.

Silver Max stumbled leaving the gate, ran his opening quarter-mile in a sprint-like 22.97 seconds, and still won by two lengths. He ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.87, just .87 of a second off the track standard on a turf course that took rain Saturday morning, and easily turned back the talented Sachem Spirit and late-running Ajar in deep stretch.

"He broke so fast that the ground just broke out from under him," said Shaun Bridgmohan, who rode Silver Max for the first time. "I can see why he makes the lead all the time. He's a great gate horse."

Silver Max ($3.20) was headstrong around the first turn and came off the rail to some extent while turning down the backstretch, but Bridgmohan didn't want to mess with his mount and let him roll.

"They told me to let him go," Bridgmohan said. "With him, he just wants to be in front. But he's not uncontrollable. He relaxes pretty well once he gets to the lead."

Silver Max was on the lead through a half-mile in 46.74 seconds and three-quarters in a swift 1:11.16. Sachem Spirit came into the stretch with good energy and threatened to make the 3-5 favorite work, but Silver Max pulled clear again and never was threatened in the stretch run.

"I think he'll go on farther," said Bridgmohan. "I had a lot of horse from the eighth pole home."
Sachem Spirit, making his stakes debut in his fourth start, ran a good race, coming home a half-length in front of Ajar, who rallied from last in the 10-horse field. North of Never finished fourth, followed by All Stormy, Monastic, No Spin, Hero of Order, Street Serenade, and Slamit.

By Badge of Silver out of Kissin Rene, by Kissin Kris, Silver Max was bred by Steve Snowden and Seth and Will Lauffer. Dale Romans trains him for owners Mark Bacon and Dana Wells.

Silver Max finished second in the first five starts of his career, but now has won four straight races, the last three in stakes competition.