With more time in between starts, trainer Steve Asmussen felt Silver Prospector would be more of a factor in Saturday’s $300,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs than the gray colt was in the meet-opening $120,000 Street Sense on October 27, in which he finished third after setting a contested pace.
That optimism bore fruit on a cold, wet Louisville evening when the son of Declaration of War edged 87-1 outsider Finnick the Fierce and 3-5 favorite Tiz the Law to win the 1 1/16-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep by three parts of a length under Ricardo Santana Jr.
Sent off at 7-1, Silver Prospector rated near the middle of the pack as New Eagle set a pace of :24.39, :49.92, and 1:14.83. Ranging on the outside around the far turn, Silver Prospector was able to get a jump on Champagne (G1) winner Tiz the Law, who was bottled up behind the leaders most of the way.
Making a three wide rally down the stretch, Silver Prospector found plenty in wearing down New Eagle inside the final furlong. Tiz the Law, who belatedly squeezed his way between tiring rivals, had every chance to get past on Silver Prospector’s inside but lacked a strong late kick and even yielded second to longshot Finnick the Fierce in the final strides.
Owned by Ed and Susie Orr, Silver Prospector paid $17.80 after completing 1 1/16 miles on a sloppy track in 1:45.94. It was a sweep of the juvenile stakes for Asmussen and Santana, who teamed up to take the Golden Rod (G2) for fillies with odds-on favorite Finite earlier in the card.
As part of the 2020 Road to the Kentucky Derby series, the Kentucky Jockey Club awarded qualifying points of 10-4-2-1 to the top four finishers. Silver Prospector earned his first 10 points, Finnick the Fierce four, Tiz the Law two, and fourth-place finisher Enforceable one. Tiz the Law has now earned 12 points in total, while Enforceable has three.
This was the first stakes win for Silver Prospector, who placed in one of his first three starts, all on turf, before breaking his maiden by two lengths over the main track at Keeneland. He wheeled back two weeks later for the aforementioned Street Sense, but got nearly five weeks to prepare for the Kentucky Jockey Club.
“The Street Sense was on the back of a very fast maiden race. I think the spacing between the Street Sense and this race worked to his advantage,” Asmussen said. “He was a little further back than we expected, but the horse has been training nice. I thought it was the strongest he’s looked, and very proud of him how he fought to the wire.”
Bred in Kentucky by Hargus Sexton, Sandra Sexton, and Silver Fern Farm, Silver Prospector most recently cost $190,000 at the OBS April juvenile sale. The Kentucky-bred was produced by the multiple stakes-placed Tap Softly, by Tapit.