Updated on 10/08/2013 8:40AM

Shadwell Mile: Silver Max ends Wise Dan's streak in race moved to Polytrack

Coady Photography
The shift from turf to Polytrack in the Shadwell Mile did not bother Silver Max, ridden by Robby Albarado.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The strange weather that descended Saturday on Keeneland paralleled the results of the track’s richest day of racing when Silver Max stunned what remained of a crowd of 27,849 by upsetting Wise Dan in front-running fashion in the $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile, a Grade 1 race transferred to the main Polytrack surface because of weather conditions.

Wise Dan, the 2012 Horse of the Year, was beaten for the first time in 10 starts when having every opportunity to get past Silver Max, who was sent to the lead on the clubhouse turn of the 1 1/16-mile race by jockey Robby Albarado. The win margin was 1 1/4 lengths, with another 3 1/2 lengths back to Willcox Inn, the third finisher in a field of 10 older horses.

Dale Romans trains Kentucky-bred Silver Max for longtime friends Mark Bacon and Dana Wells. Silver Max paid $17 to win as second choice.

“He’s got such a high cruising speed,” said Albarado. “Dale said take it to ‘em right away, and that’s what we did.”

Because it was transferred off the turf due to wet conditions, the Shadwell lost its Win and You’re In designation, in accordance with Breeders’ Cup rules. Even without that bonus, Romans said he still thought Silver Max will advance to the BC Mile on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.

Wise Dan, who had won 5 of 7 previous tries on synthetic, was the 1-2 favorite under John Velazquez. The withdrawal of the Win and You’re In incentive was moot for Wise Dan and his connections because the 6-year-old gelding had won one such race, the Woodbine Mile, in his prior start. He also will go to the BC Mile.

“Johnny said [Silver Max] won fair and square – he just got loose on the front end,” said Charlie LoPresti, who trains Wise Dan for owner-breeder Mort Fink. “I’m not going to make any excuses.”

Contested between deluges on an afternoon that began sunny and hot, the Shadwell unfolded with Silver Max, making his first-ever start on a synthetic surface, looping into the lead on the first turn, with Wise Dan pursuing him from a slightly wider path.

Leaving the half-mile pole, those two had drawn clear of the others, and although Velazquez put Wise Dan to a drive in the far turn, the champion never got closer than a length to Silver Max. The final time was 1:42.06.

“He ran a good race,” said Velazquez. “He just didn't run his A game today … it seemed like he was tiring from it today. He couldn’t seem to get his [footing].”

The defeat of Wise Dan followed by less than two hours a loss by another 2012 champion, Groupie Doll, to Judy the Beauty in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes. No favorites won any of the five graded stakes here Saturday.

For the resurgent Albarado, the win was his fourth in the 28-year history of the Shadwell. He waved his whip in exultation after crossing under the wire.

“This is like a family affair, winning this one,” he said. “Mark and Dana are very close friends of mine. I couldn’t be happier for them.”

For Romans, the 2012 Eclipse Award-winning trainer whose stable suddenly has come alive in recent weeks after slumping for much of this year, the victory was particularly gratifying.

“Somebody said it’s raining out here, but I haven’t noticed,” he joked. “It’s a beautiful day at Keeneland.”

Silver Max started running poorly last fall and only until recently had he shown signs of his old form. The 4-year-old colt, by Badge of Silver, now has won 11 of 22 starts, with the $450,000 winner’s share lifting his bankroll to $1,658,403.

“We just backed up and regrouped,” said Romans. “We had a tired horse last fall and now we’ve got a fresh one this fall.”

After Willcox Inn, the complete order was Winning Prize, Coalport, Skyring, Summer Front, Hogy, Turallure, and Handsome Mike.

The $2 exacta (9-10) paid $41.40; the $1 trifecta (9-10-6) returned $139.40; and the 10-cent superfecta (9-10-6-1) was worth $61.79.

**Because of the surface and distance changes, the Shadwell Mile (race 9) was declared an "all" in the pick three and pick four that ended with the 9th race and the late pick four and pick five that ended in the 10th race. All horses in the 9th race were considered winners in that leg of  each wager.