Updated on 09/17/2011 10:59AM

No hype, Badge of Silver just plain fast


PHILADELPHIA - Imagine the hype if we had a 3-year-old with the following resume:

Won his first start as a 2-year-old on April 12 at Keeneland, running 4 1/2 furlongs in 51.82 seconds and winning by nine lengths.

Took time off to recover from a cracked cannon bone.

Won his first start as a 3-year-old at Fair Grounds on Jan. 23, running six furlongs in 109.70 and winning by seven lengths for a 108 Beyer Speed Figure.

Won his second start as a 3-year-old at the Fair Grounds on Feb. 16, running 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.99 and winning by 10 lengths while earning another 108 Beyer.

To review, the colt is now 3 for 3 and has won his starts by a combined 26 lengths. He ran fast going very short. He ran fast going a little longer. He ran fast going two turns. He has crushed all his competition.

So where is the hype for Badge of Silver?

Perhaps, we've all just been burned too many times. What if all the hype turns out to be wrong, as it almost always does?

Well, what if this colt turns out to be the real deal? What then?

Badge of Silver's victory in the Feb. 16 Risen Star Stakes was accomplished with total ease. I loved how jockey Robby Albarado was able to get the colt into good position from his outside post. Before the first turn, it was clear that Badge of Silver was in complete control of the race.

If that 108 Beyer was real, the race was going to be no contest. The figure was real. So was Badge of Silver.

So, what next?

I see stardom, but, as a charter member of the no-hype brigade, I am just whispering.

Badge of Silver cost owner Ken Ramsey $85,000 at the 2001 Keeneland Fall Sale. Obviously, trainer Ronny Werner saw something nobody else saw.

Badge of Silver's sire, Silver Deputy, stands for $40,000, so $85,000 for one of his sons would appear to be a bargain.

Silver Deputy has sired seven champions. All but Silverbulletday won their championships in Canada, but, last time I looked, Canada was still part of the world.

Silver Deputy raced just twice, winning his maiden and winning the Swynford Stakes, so some will question Badge of Silver's distance capabilities. I would suggest they check the tape of the Risen Star a few times. And then I would point out Silverbulletday's win in the 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks and Archers Bay's win in the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate. Both were sired by Silver Deputy.

I am no breeding expert, but I would think the fact that Badge of Silver is out of the Silver Hawk mare Silveroo would not really hurt his chance at staying a distance. Silver Hawk has sired, among others, Epsom Derby winner Benny the Dip and St. Leger winner Mutafaweq. The St. Leger is run at 1 3/4 miles.

After the first Fair Grounds win, calls poured in attempting to separate Badge of Silver from his owner and trainer. There was some very big money offered. No sale.

Originally, Badge of Silver was supposed to run in the March 9 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds before trying the April 5 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne. Then, it was suggested by Ramsey that he might just wait until the Illinois Derby. Then, the owner said he would leave it up to Werner.

I will stay out of that debate. Like Ramsey, Werner, Albarado, and anybody else who likes the intrigue of an unbeaten and fast 3-year-old, I would just like to see Badge of Silver show up for the May 3 Kentucky Derby with another big win or two in fast time. If that happens, I can assure the owner, trainer, jockey, and everybody else the whispering will be over.