Silver State Proves His Mettle

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Silver State | Sarah Andrew

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Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing's Silver State (Hard Spun) upped his win streak to six while providing trainer Steve Asmussen with a third GI Hill 'n' Dale Metropolitan H. in the last four years. The historic Met Mile also gave Silver State an automatic spot in the starting gate for the GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile should his connections choose that event over the GI Breeders' Cup Classic. By My Standards (Goldencents) rallied to cut the winning margin to a length after missing the break, while stretching-out GI Carter H. hero Mischevious Alex (Into Mischief) settled for third. Odds-on Knicks Go (Paynter), last year's Dirt Mile romper and last seen checking in fourth in the lucrative Saudi Cup in February, showed the way before fading to fourth on a rare day when Eclipse-winning conditioner Brad Cox's runners seemed to not be firing their best shots–until the GI Belmont S. at least

Silver State was a fringe player on the 2020 Triple Crown trail, finishing second in the GIII Lecomte S. and third in a division of the GII Risen Star S. before a seventh-place run in the GII Louisiana Derby in March. He reemerged a seven-length romper over Keeneland's almost-a-mile Beard Course in allowance company last October, and hasn't looked back since. The bay cleared his '2X' at Churchill in November, followed by narrow scores in Oaklawn's Fifth Season S. Jan. 23 and Essex H. Mar. 13. He most recently got up by a half-length in the nine-furlong GII Oaklawn H. Apr. 17, pairing up his 101 Beyer Speed Figure top.

Let go as the 57-10 third choice, Silver State broke well enough despite pressure from both sides, and tucked in behind Knicks Go as Mischevious Alex rushed up to apply pressure. Shuffled back a bit and ridden along near a :46.31 half, he looked to be going well heading for home as the favorites knocked heads. Knicks Go floated Mischevious Alex very wide, and that gave Silver State a perfect path if he had the horse. He did, and pushed past the fading Knicks Go, outkicked Mischevious Alex and held safe By My Standards by a length.

“He broke really sharp today and put me in a great spot,” said winning rider Ricardo Santana, Jr., who escaped injury Friday at Churchill Downs when his mount broke through the temporary rail and caused the declaration of a no contest. “I was just a passenger today. He put me where he wanted to be. The rail opened, so I decided to go through it and he gave me the victory… Steve's done a good job with him. He gave him time off. He came back fresh last year and he's the best that he's been right now… The good thing about that horse is that he can do whatever you want to. He's really smart. I'm really impressed with him.”

Hall of Famer Asmussen took the 2018 Met Mile with Bee Jersey (Jersey Town) and 2019 renewal with Mitole (Eskendereya)–both were also piloted by his go-to jock Santana.

“I'm very proud of Silver State, the whole team, and the trip Ricardo gave him and the faith he has in the horse,” said Asmussen. “The Met Mile is an extremely significant win and one of the great races in American racing.

“This is six wins in a row for him. He's an absolutely beautiful Stonestreet bred that Ron Winchell and Mr. [Willis] Horton purchased and have campaigned. Their patience in allowing him to get to this level has been perfect.

“Silver State's one-turn races last year were brilliant. Ricardo knows the horse and has a great amount of confidence in him. He was away cleanly and he was traveling very comfortably. Ricardo's level of confidence in this horse, and it's obviously warranted, had a lot to do with the outcome today.

“This horse takes a step forward with every race. The one thing you really noticed at Oaklawn is every time he went to the wire like he was trying to win. He's a Met Mile winner. We built it up to this point. To be in this position today will give him the credit he deserves. That's the great part about racing. You have to earn it. That's what he did today. The Met Mile was our target since last fall.”

Saturday, Belmont Park
HILL 'N' DALE METROPOLITAN H.-GI, $955,000, Belmont, 6-5, 3yo/up, 1m, 1:35.45, ft.
1–SILVER STATE, 120, c, 4, by Hard Spun
                1st Dam: Supreme (SW-USA, GSP-Can, $162,789),
                                by Empire Maker
                2nd Dam: Mon Belle, by Maria's Mon
                3rd Dam: Regal Band, by Dixieland Band
   1ST GRADE I WIN. ($450,000 Ylg '18 KEESEP). O-Winchell
Thoroughbreds LLC and Willis Horton Racing LLC;
B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY); T-Steven M.
Asmussen; J-Ricardo Santana, Jr. $535,000. Lifetime Record:
11-7-2-1, $1,765,094. Werk Nick Rating: A++. Click for
   eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–By My Standards, 122, h, 5, Goldencents–A Jealous Woman,
by Muqtarib. ($150,000 2yo '18 OBSAPR). O-Allied Racing
Stable, LLC & Spendthrift Farm LLC; B-Don Ladd (KY); T-W. Bret
Calhoun. $185,000.
3–Mischevious Alex, 124, c, 4, Into Mischief–White Pants Night,
by Speightstown. ($75,000 Ylg '18 KEESEP; $140,000 RNA 2yo
'19 OBSAPR). O-Cash is King LLC and LC Racing; B-WinStar
Farm, LLC (KY); T-Saffie A. Joseph, Jr. $100,000.
Margins: 1, 3/4, 1HF. Odds: 5.70, 8.90, 3.55.
Also Ran: Knicks Go, Dr Post, Lexitonian.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

Pedigree Notes:

Silver State is the 14th highest-level winner for good racehorse sire Hard Spun, whose runners perform at a variety of distances and over both surfaces. Among his recent standouts are 2019 Dirt Mile winner Spun to Run. The late Empire Maker is the broodmare sire of 27 graded winners and, for now, six Grade I winners–he is also the dam sire of current GI Kentucky Derby runner-up Mandaloun (Into Mischief). Among the six are GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby winner and GI Belmont S. also-ran Rock Your World (Candy Ride {Arg}).

The winner's dam Supreme was a two-time sprint winner on dirt, but improved significantly when switched to the sod and was a stakes winner and GSP in dashes over that surface. Stonestreet paid $800,000 for Supreme in foal to Giant's Causeway at the 2013 Keeneland January sale. Supreme is out of a full-sister to GI Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos. Supreme's 2-year-old Candy Ride (Arg) colt was a $95,000 KEESEP RNA turned $500,000 OBS March purchase by Yuji Hasegawa off a :10 flat breeze. Supreme produced an Uncle Mo colt last May but was not bred back.

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