05/05/2016 5:18PM

Silvertoni prevails in Kentucky Juvenile

Barbara D. Livingston
Silvertoni and jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. win the Kentucky Juvenile by two lengths Thursday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Silvertoni remained unbeaten in her young career, turning in a professional, front-running performance to win the resurrected $100,000 Kentucky Juvenile before a crowd of 39,213 on Thursday at Churchill Downs.

The announced attendance was a record for the Thursday before Kentucky Derby and Oaks weekend. The event, dubbed “Thurby,” continues to grow from year to year, as the previous mark of 30,647 was set just last year.

Silvertoni was away well from post 5 in the field of seven 2-year-olds and was quickly guided toward the inside by jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. through an opening quarter of 22.51 seconds.

Rounding the far turn, stablemate Con Te Partiro – one of three in the race for trainer Wesley Ward – and even-money favorite Hey Mike ranged up on the outside, with Con Te Partiro briefly poking a head in front. But Silvertoni kicked on gamely once straightened away in the lane and continued on well to win by two lengths. She completed the five furlongs in 58.63 seconds.

"She's a really nice filly, very talented," Ward said of Silvertoni, who was coming off a two-length debut win April 14 at Keeneland. "I think she's going to get better as they go further. Going into the race, I thought [Con Te Partiro] probably would be a little quicker, but she broke a little slow, and [Silvertoni] kind of took advantage of that. [Con Te Partiro] came outside of her, but [Silvertoni] has a big, long, lengthy stride, and it's just tough to get by her."

Hey Mike just held second by a head over Thirstforlife, who was flying in the stretch after missing the break.

Ward said Silvertoni would target either the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes on June 15 or the Group 3 Albany Stakes on June 17, both at Royal Ascot.