(NEW KENT, VA) — Silver Max continued his string of impressive turf outings with a one length victory over Lucky Chappy in Saturday’s $600,000 Virginia Derby (Gr. II) for three year olds at soggy Colonial Downs.
The 3 year old Badge of Silver colt had won five straight turf races in gate to wire fashion, each at a different track and each with a different jockey. Robby Albarado guided Silver Max in the second of those in the Grade III Transylvania Stakes at Churchill and he returned to the irons at Colonial Saturday.
He broke from post six and nearly led all the way except for a brief period at the three-quarter mark when Two Months Rent stuck a head in front. Silver Max shook that off, opened a two length margin at the top of the stretch over stablemate Finnegan’s Wake then held on for the win over fast closing Lucky Chappy.
Silver Max, who had not run at a distance longer than 1 1/6th miles prior to Saturday, covered the 1 ¼ mile stakes in 2:04.05 over a yielding turf course. The winner, co-owned Mark Bacon and Dana Wells, returned $3.80 and completed an All Stakes Pick-5 wager.
With the win, trainer Dale Romans captured his third Virginia Derby tying Bill Mott for the most Derby triumphs. Romans previously scored with Paddy O’ Prado in 2010 and Kitten’s Joy in 2004. Nearing the end of a whirlwind day, Romans started in Saratoga and caught a plane to Delaware Park after the third race with jockeys Ramon Dominguez and Alan Garcia. After a pair of races at Delaware, the trio flew into the New Kent, Virginia airport in time for the 8:38 PM (EDT) Derby. Romans was slated to fly back to Saratoga where he noted, “I have champagne on ice waiting.”
Albarado also connected in the Grade III $150,000 Virginia Oaks atop Volcat, the evening’s other graded stakes race. Fresh off a pair of impressive turf allowance efforts at Churchill, Volcat bobbled at the break Saturday but rebounded quickly into second behind Boastful Dancer. The After Market filly took control at three-quarters and held on for a half length win over Filare I’Oro in 1:52.18.
A trio of $50,000 stakes led up to the graded pair and jockey Sara Rook captured two of them. She connected in both the freshmen stakes with I’m Boundtoscore in the Chenery and a gate to wire effort with Zip Cash Back in the Tippett. Colonial Downs leading rider Sheldon Russell directed Lentenor to a tight victory in the Kitten’s Joy after a thrilling stretch drive. A full brother to Barbaro, Lentenor earned his fourth win on grass.
Colonial Downs is dark Sunday thru Tuesday. Closing week festivities kick off Wednesday with a special make up race day at a 5 PM post. Racing will continue Thursday, Friday and Saturday.