08/31/2013 5:44PM

Saratoga: Silver Max goes gate to wire in Bernard Baruch

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Barbara D. Livingston
Silver Max, under Robby Albarado, did just fine on Saratoga’s yielding turf.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The turf courses at Saratoga had been favoring speed for more than a week in part because of the firmness of the ground caused by a lack of rain.

That was going to suit Silver Max just fine for Saturday’s Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap.

But then the unfathomable happened. It rained. Was trainer Dale Romans fearful that might change things for Silver Max, the apparent lone speed in the 1 1/16-mile turf race?

“Every time something happens you’re concerned especially going into a big race like this,” Romans said. “If there’s anything to worry about you will worry about it. But he handled it well last year in Virginia, and it looked like he handled it real well today.”

Indeed, Silver Max handled the yielding Saratoga turf very well, taking some pressure from Tetradrachm early and having plenty left with which to finish late, winning the Bernard Baruch by two lengths over Paris Vegas. It was 6 1/4 lengths back to Tetradrachm in third. Turallure and So Long George completed the order of finish. Za Approval was scratched because of the soft turf, and Willyconker was scratched by the stewards after it was learned trainer Eric Guillot used a magnetic massage blanket on the horse within 24 hours of a race. By statute, no electrical devices are allowed to be used on a horse within 24 hours of a race.

For Silver Max, a 4-year-old son of Badge of Silver, the win was his second straight and 10th from 21 starts. He is owned by Mark Bacon and Dana Wells.

Silver Max, under Robby Albarado, opened up a length lead after running a quarter-mile in 23.88 seconds. Tetradrachm, under John Velazquez, attempted to apply some pressure after a half-mile in 47.34 seconds, but Silver Max spurted clear of that one around the turn.
When Tetradrachm couldn’t keep up, Paris Vegas, under Rosie Napravnik, picked up the chase, but was no match for Silver Max, who covered the 1 1/16 miles over the yielding turf in 1:42.31 and returned $3.80 as the 4-5 favorite.

“They came to me a little earlier than I anticipated,” Albarado said. “At the half-mile pole I felt a horse come to him. [I] pressed on him a little bit early, but he’s got such a high cruising speed and he holds it. For today I let him stretch the race out, and he held on, held off a couple of nice horses.”

Romans said that he may look to shorten Silver Max up  in distance and point for the Breeders’ Cup Mile, though the specter of Horse of the Year Wise Dan looms large in that division.

“We’re going to think it through,” Romans said. “He’s obviously a fast horse and he’s going to be a tough miler, but you have to deal with Dan when you’re going to go in that division, so that’s the only reason to think about doing something different.”

chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
I love this Colt n no, I did not get down today. A week or so ago someone here was putting the badmouth on Dale Romans - the year for his barn may be just getting started. It was a big day for the Hardboots at Saratoga, Romans, Mott and oh yeah, a guy called Shug.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
And excuse me, please for omitting McLaughlin. His horses treated me very well last week.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Romans has been having a tough year. But glad he got this one. And watch out for Honor Code from Shug.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Can't wait... And Billy sweeps the Spinster and Alcibiades this year.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Old school methods coming back with all the new reforms. Thank God.
david More than 1 year ago
Mott is not from KY. Believe he is from SD.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
We know... It's not so much where you from, it's how you do your horses. Van Berg came out of Nebraska. You saying he ain't Hardboot?
Mark More than 1 year ago
1 day ago Max in hand . Lopresti second. Reply 4 replies+1 Mark9 hours ago 7/1,3 $27.20 exacta 7-1 . Highest payout possible . Yep !
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Congrats Mark. How bout Jackson Bend in Forego. Nice race for second. Nice exactas. And Shug has another one in Honor Code. Woodward not my race.
Mark More than 1 year ago
ty Thomas . yeah I played JB also. nice to see DAS win after Saginaw . Shug horse ran great . Paynter ... not so much . He is not what many think he is .
Mark More than 1 year ago
BTW palace Malice is going to the Jockey Club Gold Cup . Not PA Derby . Micromanage to PA Derby . also heard Lukas share a quote of john nerud . " Championships are not won in the spring , they are won in the fall ."