01/15/2015 6:40PM

Promise Me Silver wins Dixie Belle to stay perfect

Coady Photography
Promise Me Silver, with Cliff Berry aboard, wins the opening-day Dixie Belle Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Thursday.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Promise Me Silver remained undefeated in five starts on Thursday, when she rolled up the rail to win the opening-day, $100,000 Dixie Belle Stakes at Oaklawn Park. One race later, Preakness runner-up Ride On Curlin won his first start since the Belmont Stakes in a photo over Ali’s Birthday in a $30,000 optional claimer. 

The races were the main events on the first card of the Oaklawn season, pushed back about a week after freezing temperatures forced the cancellation of racing last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The estimated attendance Thursday was 10,250, said David Longinotti, director of racing for Oaklawn. It was the first time Oaklawn had opened its meet on a Thursday, and overall business figures were strong, said Longinotti.

“It looks like were going to have a pretty good day,” Longinotti said following the Dixie Belle. “We’re very pleased. We’re probably going to have the best Thursday, outside of the Racing Festival, that we’ve had in 10 years.”

Oaklawn typically opens on a Friday.

Promise Me Silver ($3.20) raced in fourth early in the Dixie Belle, tucked in behind Super Saks as that one took the field through fractions of 21.61 seconds for the opening quarter and 45.68 for the half-mile. Promise Me Silver found racing room into the stretch and overtook the leader, then held off a bid from Sarah Sis for a neck win. It was another three lengths back to Super Saks in third.

Promise Me Silver, ridden by Cliff Berry, covered six furlongs on a track rated “fast” in 1:11.45.

“Early on, she lost a little position, and Cliff had to wait, sit down there on the rail,” said winning trainer Bret Calhoun. “He waited, got a spot, called on her, and she finished up good.”

It was the fourth straight stakes win for Promise Me Silver, who races for her breeders, Myrna and Robert Luttrell. She earned $60,000 for the victory to lift her career earnings to $214,355. Promise Me Silver’s other stakes wins came in the Debutante at Churchill, a division of the Texas Stallion Stakes at Retama Park, and the Letellier Memorial at Fair Grounds.

Calhoun said her next start is to be determined. He said last week that the manner in which Promise Me Silver rated and finished in the Letellier suggested she might be a candidate to stretch out to two turns. Promise Me Silver is a daughter of Silver City, the leading freshman sire in Texas in 2014.

Ride On Curlin ($4) raced in the second flight early in the ninth race, advanced steadily, and closed with a rush to cover six furlongs in 1:10.40. Jon Court was aboard for Dan Dougherty and trainer Billy Gowan.