Silverton Hill LLC’s Silvertoni fought back along the rail after being headed at the three-sixteenths pole to win the 23rd running of the $100,000 Kentucky Juvenile for 2-year-olds by two lengths over Hey Mile before a record Thursday before Derby crowd of 39,213.
Trained by Wesley Ward and ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr., Silvertoni covered the five furlongs on a fast track in :58.63. It marked the second victory in the race for Ward, who saddled Aegean to victory in the 2009 running. Like Silvertoni, Aegean is a filly.
Valdivia put Silvertoni on the lead and opened a daylight margin in the run down the backstretch.
On the far turn, stablemate Con Te Partiro and Hey Mike moved at the leader and pushed past at the three-sixteenths pole only to have Silvertoni re-rally and regain command at midstretch and draw off for the victory.
Silvertoni is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Tapit out of the Johannesburg mare Somasach. The victory was worth $60,760 and increased Silvertoni’s earnings to $91,580 with two wins in two starts.
Silvertoni returned $13, $4.60 and $3. Hey Mike, ridden by Javier Castellano, returned $2.80 and $2.40 with Thirstforlife finishing a head back in third after breaking last and returning $3 to show under Florent Geroux.
Con Te Partiro finished fourth and was followed in order by Cold Hearted Pearl, Bluegrass Gem and Cold Snack Thirty.
Thurby’s attendance of 39,213 represents a 28 percent increase from last year’s previous mark of 30,647.
Racing resumes Friday with a 13-race program that features six stakes and is highlighted by the 142nd running of the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) for 3-year-old fillies.
KENTUCKY JUVENILE QUOTES
Jose Valdivia Jr. (Jockey of Silvertoni, winner) – "She did that easily. She came out of the gate so well and I just made the lead. She was traveling very nice underneath me. When the horses came to her, I called on her, and she was there for me. She has a big future ahead of her."
Wesley Ward (Trainer of Silvertoni, winner) – “She’s a nice filly and is bred to be nice and we are real excited. She’s very talented. I think that she’s going to only get better as she goes further. Going into the race, the three horse (Con Te Partiro) would probably be a little quicker going out of the gate but she broke a step slow so this filly (Silvertoni) kind of took advantage of that, and (Con Te Partiro) came outside of her but the other filly just has a big strong lengthy stride and it’s just tough to get by her because she just keeps running.”
Q: Would you consider a start in the Debutante?
“I doubt it. I think we’re probably going to go to Royal Ascot with her. I won the race with a filly [Jealous Again] that was second in this particular race years back in this particular race so that’s probably the route we’ll go. We’ll probably go to the Albany or the Queen Mary, one of the two. I’ll have to sit down with the owners and decide where they want to go.”
Javier Castellano (Jockey of Hey Mike, runner-up) – "The winner was much the best today. My horse still ran very good. The winner never stopped, never gave up. My horse is a great developing horse. There are lots of expectations. He's still developing. I'm satisfied. I'm not disappointed."
Florent Geroux (Jockey of Thirstforlife, third-place finisher) – "He didn't break at all. I was very surprised, when the gates opened, he just got scared and afraid. He came flying late. I think he was the best horse in the race, for sure. He was also a bit immature and was lugging in a bit. These are things than can be fixed; I think he is a very nice horse."