04/06/2012 5:15PM

Keeneland: Silver Max runs away with Transylvania

Keeneland/Coady Photography
Silver Max, with Robby Albarado riding, leaves the field behind in the Transylvania.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Silver Max never looked back in easily dominating the 24th running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Transylvania Stakes on a sun-splashed opening day of the Keeneland spring meet.

With Robby Albarado aboard, Silver Max led every step of the 1 1/16-mile turf race, winning by 5 1/2 lengths for his first stakes triumph in nine career starts. A Badge of Silver colt, Silver Max returned $8.60 as third choice in a field of six 3-year-olds, finishing in 1:41.81 over a firm course and giving his co-owner, Mark Bacon, his first stakes win.

Travel Advisory rallied belatedly to finish second, another 1 1/4 lengths before State of Play, the 2-1 second choice. Monastic, the 2-1 favorite, had no mishap in running fourth. Then came Icon Ike and Wayward Sailor.

"I've got a lot of family and friends out here, and I'm just thrilled," said Bacon, who co-owns the colt with Dana Wells.

Silver Max, trained by Dale Romans, was coming off a front-running victory in a turf allowance at Gulfstream Park.

"Mark and Dana are good friends of mine, and I'm so happy to win this for them," said Albarado. "I rode this colt's daddy, and he had a high cruising speed, too. This horse set some quick fractions but did it within himself. Then he just sprinted home."

Before an ontrack crowd estimated at 20,000, Badge of Silver went in fractions of 23.46, 47.37, and 1:11.81 after taking an open lead from the word "go." Only Icon Ike got within a couple of lengths of him on the far turn, and by the eighth pole he was five in front before coasting home.

Silver Max, a Kentucky-bred, likely will race next in the Grade 2 American Turf on the May 4 Kentucky Oaks undercard at Churchill Downs.

Successful Dan wins in return

One race earlier, Successful Dan ($6.20) made quite an impression in his return to action, capturing a $64,659 allowance by a length over late-closing Golden Yank. A 6-year-old gelding, Successful Dan was making his first start since finishing first (but disqualified to third) in the 2010 Clark Handicap at Churchill.

"This is a serious horse," said his jubilant trainer, Charlie Lopresti. "I love Turallure, and I love Wise Dan, but this is my best horse."

Successful Dan, bred and owned by Morton Fink and ridden by Julien Leparoux, was always prominent when contesting the pace outside of Noble's Promise, who gave way late when finishing three-quarters of a length behind Golden Yank. The winning time for the Beard Course distance of seven furlongs and 184 feet was 1:27.90 over Polytrack.