Updated on 05/04/2012 6:05PM

Churchill Downs: Silver Max runs off with American Turf

Justin N. Lane
Silver Max, with Javier Castellano riding takes the American Turf on the front end.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Silver Max took the lead leaving the gate and led from start to finish to win the $200,000-added American Turf, a race for 3-year-old turf horses that was delayed 45 minutes by a storm and was marred by an accident that, fortunately, did not result in apparent injury to horse or rider.

Jockey Javier Castellano, aboard Star Channel - who was racing in mid-pack and near the rail as the field turned into the stretch - became dislodged, and appeared to at least be grazed by a trailing horse. Castellano left the turf course in an ambulance, but walked from the ambulance under his own power back to the jockeys' room. He had an abrasion on his left cheek, but was otherwise fine and rode in the Kentucky Oaks aboard Grace Hall after being cleared by Churchill Downs's physicians.

Castellano, interviewed on the NBC Sports Network, said his horse got spooked and raced erratically, causing Castellano to lose his balance.

"I feel very good. Very lucky, very blessed," he said.

Castellano is scheduled to ride Gemologist in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

Star Channel galloped through the stretch riderless, but was corralled by an outrider after the finish. Dr. Larry Bramlage, the on-call veterinarian for the American Association of Equine Practioners, said on the NBC Sports Network telecast that Star Channel was fine.

Silver Max ($12.40) had his own drama. He was originally scheduled to be ridden by Robby Albarado, but Albarado was arrested early Friday morning and charged with domestic battery, then later Friday was suspended indefinitely by Churchill Downs stewards. Rafael Bejarano picked up the mount.

Silver Max crossed the finish 2 3/4 lengths better than runner-up Travel Advisory, with Howe Great another three-quarters of a length back in third after falling farther off the pace than usual for him on turf.

The win was the fourth in 10 starts for Silver Max, who was coming off a runaway victory in the Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland on April 6. He has four wins and three seconds in seven grass races. Dale Romans trains Silver Max, a son of Badge of Silver, for Mark Bacon and Dana Wells.

Silver Max completed 1 1/16 miles on turf in 1:41.10. The course remained firm, as the storm that came through Churchill Downs was brief, with the bulk of the severe weather veering south of the track.