Silver State made his first Grade 1 attempt a winning one in Saturday’s $1 million Metropolitan H., surging along the inside to score by a length. The four-year-old colt extended his win streak to six, the last four stakes, and Ricardo Santana Jr. was up for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton, Silver State rated just off the pace as Knicks Go established opening splits in :23.36 and :46.31 on a short lead. Mischevious Alex, the 7-2 second choice, tracked in second and advanced to pressure the pacesetter on the far turn.
After racing a few paths off the rail, Silver State came under a ride leaving the far turn and angled to the inside of the top pair. He struck the front with about a furlong remaining, holding By My Standards safe in the latter stages.
“He broke really sharp today and put me in a great spot — I was just a passenger today,” Santana said. “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.”
Off as the 5-1 third choice, Silver State completed the mile distance in 1:35.45.
“I’m very proud of Silver State, the whole team, and the trip Ricardo gave him and the faith he has in the horse< Asmussen said. “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.”
By My Standards, who was 8-1, closed well for second after a troubled start. It was three-quarters of a length back to Mischevious Alex in third. Dr Post wound up fifth, and Lexitonian was eased.
Owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton, Silver State was on the 2020 Triple Crown trail after placing in the Risen Star (G2) and Lecomte (G3) early last season, but he headed to the sidelines for seven months after an unplaced effort in the Louisiana Derby (G2).
The son of Hard Spun returned with a pair of allowance triumphs last fall, and Silver State reeled off three consecutive stakes wins at Oaklawn Park — Fifth Season, Essex H., and Oaklawn H. (G2) – before shipping to New York for the Met Mile.
“This horse takes a step forward with every race,” Asmussen said. “The one thing you really noticed at Oaklawn is every time he went to the wire like he was trying to win. He’s (now) 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.”
Silver State has now earned $1,765,094 from an 11-7-2-1 ledger. Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet, Silver State commanded $450,000 as a 2018 Keeneland September sale yearling. The bay is out of the stakes-winning Empire Maker mare Supreme, a half-sister to 2001 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Monarchos.