12/02/2011 6:20PM

Calder: Silver Medallion gets ideal stalking trip in Tropical Turf

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Jim Lisa
Javier Castellano guides Silver Medallion to a 1 3/4-length victory in the Grade 3 Tropical Turf Handicap.

MIAMI  -  Silver Medallion, who was on the Kentucky Derby trail earlier this season, continues to give the impression his best days lie ahead on the grass after rallying  to a 1 3/4-length victory over the 9-5 favorite Mr. Ryder in Friday’s $100,000 Tropical Turf Handicap at Calder.

The Tropical Turf gave Silver Medallion the second Grade 3 win of his career. His first came in the El Camino Real Derby in his 3-year-old debut last winter at Golden Gate Fields. Silver Medallion was purchased privately by his present owner, David Callan’s Black Rock Stable, after winning the El Camino Real.   

With Javier Castellano aboard, Silver Medallion stalked the early pace of Chosen Empire, who set reasonable splits of 24.49 seconds, 49.70, and 1:13.44 for the opening six furlongs of the 1 1/8-mile Tropical Turf. Silver Medallion readily overtook the tiring leader entering the stretch, edged clear, and was not seriously threatened thereafter.

Mr. Ryder raced near the rear of the pack for six furlongs, angled out for the drive, and rallied mildly to be second best. Hollinger finished third.

Silver Medallion, who was transferred to trainer Todd Pletcher’s barn following his fourth- place finish last April in Keeneland’s Lexington, completed the distance in 1:48.84 over a firm course and paid $13.20.

“He is more mature now than when I rode him in the Lexington,” said Castellano. “We were very lucky today the way the race unfolded with only one speed horse.”

Castellano said he asked Silver Medallion to track Chosen Empire, ridden by Elvis Trujillo, all the way.

 “He settled nicely and I think that was the key today,” Castellano said.