Silver State's Connections Have Plenty Of Options For Met Mile Winner - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Silver State’s Connections Have Plenty Of Options For Met Mile Winner

Ricardo Santana celebrates Silver State’s win in the G1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park

After running his win streak to six with a conquest of the Grade 1, $1 million Hill 'N' Dale Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., Silver State has plenty of options on the table said co-owner Ron Winchell's racing and bloodstock advisor David Fiske.

Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, the son of Hard Spun carried five straight triumphs into the prestigious one-turn mile event, including three stakes wins at Oaklawn Park. He made his seasonal bow with a narrow victory in the Fifth Season on January 23 going a two-turn mile before notching wins in the Essex on March 13 and the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap on April 17.

Silver State began his six-race tear off a seven-month layoff when defeating winners going seven furlongs on October 22 at Keeneland. He produced a career-best 101 Beyer when traveling the same distance next out at Churchill Downs.

Given Silver State's versatility, Fiske said he is still determining a target for the 4-year-old bay colt, who earned an automatic entry into the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile in capturing the Met Mile.

“He's in that spot where we could stretch him out again, or we could shorten him up,” Fiske said. “He seems to be effective at seven [furlongs], a mile, a mile and a sixteenth and a mile and an eighth, He can go just about anywhere. We'll probably talk about whether we want to go in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile and keep him at a middle distance or if we want to stretch him out again.”

Campaigned on the Fair Grounds division of the Kentucky Derby trail last year, Silver State was put on the shelf following a distant seventh in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby. Fiske said his mental maturity has been highly instrumental.

“He's always had a lot of talent and we always thought a lot of him,” Fiske said. “We had him on the Triple Crown trail last year and maybe he was a little immature for that. We did some body work on him and sent him to the sidelines after the Louisiana Derby. With the pandemic, there was a lot of uncertainty as to when. We brought him back in the fall. He was a bigger, stronger version of himself.

“He's always been a large extremely good-looking horse,” he added. “He probably would have gotten good sooner with a more consistent pattern of racing. He may have been victimized by the pandemic a bit.”

Additionally, Fiske expressed delight in seeing Tapit, who was campaigned by Winchell, sire a fourth Belmont Stakes winner. The influential stallion put himself on even terms with Lexington, who sired General Duke [1868], Kingfisher [1870], Harry Basset [1871] and Duke of Magenta [1878].

“Ron and I joke that he hasn't gotten a Derby win because it's too short,” Fiske quipped. “No one has done that in the modern era. We were hoping he would get a Derby winner this year, if not for a slightly troubled trip for Essential Quality.”

Paulick Report Icon

Receive daily headlines, breaking news alerts, promotions, and much more!

Ask Ray?

Have a question for Ray that you'd like answered? Have a news tip? Ray will go to his network of sources in pursuit of an answer.

Ask Ray