Silver Prospector's Steve Sexton Mile Score Caps Four-Win Day For Asmussen, Elliott - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Silver Prospector’s Steve Sexton Mile Score Caps Four-Win Day For Asmussen, Elliott

Silver Prospector and Stewart Elliott winning the Steve Sexton Mile

Putting the finishing touch on a four-win day for the trainer-jockey combination of Steve Asmussen and Stewart Elliott, Ed and Susie Orr's 5-year-old Silver Prospector ended a two-year stakes drought by winning Monday's Grade 3, $400,000 Steve Sexton Mile Stakes at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.

The gray son of Declaration of War was forwardly placed throughout while wide, ran down pace-setting Mish inside the eighth pole and drew off late to win by 1 1/2 lengths, covering the mile in 1:37.20 on a fast track. Silver Prospector, winning for the fifth time in 21 career starts, paid $13 to win.

Mish, making his stakes debut for Florida-based trainer Saffie Joseph Jr., held second by a neck after setting all the fractions under Edwin Gonzalez. Shaaz, a West Coast invader made the 2-1 favorite under Florent Geroux in his stakes debut, finished third, with local hope Popular Kid another neck back in fourth in the field of nine older runners. Rated R Superstar, Sheriff Brown, Flash of Mischief, Mine That Star and Tesoro completed the order of finish. Elector was scratched before making the trip to Texas from his California base.

Earlier on the day, Asmussen and Elliott teamed to win a starter/optional claiming race with Lady Ave, took the Memorial Day Sprint Stakes with Kalypso and then scored a 10-1 upset in the $300,000 Texas Derby with the Curlin colt King Ottoman for Three Chimneys Farm.

Silver Prospector, bred by Hargus and Sandra Sexton and Silver Fern Farm LLC and produced from the stakes-placed Tapit mare Tap Softly, was a $180,000 2-year-olds in training purchase by the Orrs at the OBS April sale from the consignment of Eisaman Equine. Later that year, Silver Prospector won the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes as a 2-year-old in 2019, defeating eventual G1 Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law among others. As a 3-year-old, the gray colt won the G3 Southwest Stakes, but a sixth-place finish in the G2 Rebel began a  streak of nine non-winning performances in graded stakes, though he would finish second in the G3 Razorback and G3 Mineshaft.

The Steve Sexton Mile was his first win since an allowance victory Oct. 30, 2020.

After breaking from the outside post and racing five wide around the first turn, Elliott moved toward the leader approaching the far turn after Mish set fractions of :24.00 for the opening quarter mile and :46.99 for the half. Silver Prospector loomed up to challenge Mish nearing the quarter pole and overtook the front-runner to get the win following a six-furlong fraction of 1:11.33 and seven furlongs in 1:23.91.

“Stewart gave him a great trip,” Asmussen told TVG's Scott Hazelton. “You know he's kept great company his whole career – a couple of graded stakes wins. It's great to have him in the winner's circle after a great race like this.”

The race is named for the respected racetrack executive who was part of the management team when Lone Star Park opened in 1997. Sexton held executive positions at a number of other tracks, including Canterbury Downs, Golden Gate Fields, Thistledown, Arlington Park and Churchill Downs, serving as president from 2002-'09 at the home of the Kentucky Derby. A member of the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame, Sexton died Dec. 12, 2016, at the age of 57 after battling brain cancer.

King Ottoman Leads 1-2 Asmussen Finish In Texas Derby

Asmussen collected his first Texas Derby victory with Three Chimneys Farm owned King Ottoman, as the colt overcame a stretch-duel with stablemate Presidential for the win in the $300,000 event.

The homebred 3-year-old son of Curlin was coming off a third-place finish in a Maiden Special Weight event going one-mile at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby day. King Ottoman, facing seven other rivals, went off as the fifth-choice in the wagering in the 1 1/16-mile test at Lone Star Park.
Jockey Stewart Elliott broke alertly aboard the gray colt, but was intent on rating his mount behind the early pace setter in the early going.  Richard Baltas trained Cover Me Up set the early pace down the backstretch with Saffie Joseph, Jr. trained A.P.'s Secret pressing the pacesetter with jockey Edwin Gonzalez aboard.  Cover Me Up's fractions for the opening quarter of the race went in a dawdling :24.22 and :48.12.
Turning for home, both Asmussen stablemate were forced wide around the three-front runners into the stretch. Elliott took King Ottoman widest of all to collar his stablemate Presidential and engage in a duel down the stretch. At the wire, King Ottoman was able to prevail by a head over his stablemate Presidential to win the $300,000 Texas Derby in a final time of 1:45.29.
“I was in behind horses and I tried to get him(King Ottoman) to run up in there as I thought I would have room to do so,” saidElliott. “The horse was a bit hesitant to do just that, and therefore I decided to take him out to go around the horse in front of us.  Once he was clear he began to fire down the lane, and he showed me that he was a bit green as he was trying to lay over on the other horse in the stretch.  It was a great win, and this horse is going to be really nice once he really starts to figure things out.”
“I am extremely proud of both colts that we ran today in the Texas Derby as they both showed up to run,” said Asmussen. “King Ottoman has always worked in the mornings with the best horses that we have in our barn and has flashed his talent in some of those works.  We were flabbergasted they had gotten beat in some of his maiden races that he had ran in.  Having faith in him, and staying the course proved the right thing with him.”
King Ottoman paid $23.60 to win. The remaining order of finish behind stablemates King Ottoman and Presidential was A.P.'s Secret, Win The Day, Strike Hard, Fowler Blue, Cover Me Up, and Got Thunder.
King Ottoman (outside) edges stablemate Presidential in the Texas Derby
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