Silver State (Hard Spun) and jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. win the Metropolitan Mile (I) at Belmont Park 6/5/21. Trainer: Steve Asmussen. Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC & Willis Horton Racing LLC
Silver State stalked the pace set by 4-5 favorite Knicks Go and then pulled away to a one-length victory over a surging By My Standards in Saturday’s Grade 1, $1-million Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. Trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Ricardo Santana, Silver State is now guaranteed a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Del Mar this fall as a result of winning the Challenge Series Win and You’re In contest.
A 4-year-old son of Hard Spun, Silver State followed up his most recent win in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap with this G1 winning performance over By My Standards and Mischevious Alex, with Knicks Go finishing fourth. Knicks Go got away from the starting gate in the lead, setting the pace for the first three-quarters of a mile. Running :23.36 for the first quarter and :46.31 for the half-mile, Joel Rosario and Knicks Go controlled the pace throughout, but were unable to hold off Silver State. Santana kept his mount on the rail and made their bid for the lead as the field entered the stretch. Silver State was able to outlast Mischevious Alex and By My Standards to win the G1 Met Mile in a final time of 1:35.45.
Dr. Post and Lexitonian completed the field of six. Silver State paid $13.40 to win as the third betting choice.
Bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Silver State is out of the Empire Maker mare Supreme. He was consigned by Eaton Sales and purchased for $450,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale by Winchell Thoroughbreds, which owns the colt in partnership with Willis Horton Racing. With this win in the G1 Met Mile, Silver State is undefeated in 2021, with four wins in four starts, including two listed stakes at Oaklawn Park. He closed out 2020 with two victories, so the Met ran his streak to six consecutive wins.
With Saturday’s win on Silver State, jockey Ricardo Santana has three wins in three mounts in the Met Mile. He previously won on Bee Jersey in 2018 and Mitole in 2019. He has ridden Silver State in all of his 11 starts and was excited about the colt’s performance today.
“He broke really sharp today and put me in a great spot.” Santana told the NYRA press office. “I was just a passenger today. 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 Asmussen praised his third G1 Met Mile winner, who he sees as getting better with each start.
“The one thing you really noticed at Oaklawn is every time he went to the wire like he was trying to win.” Asmussen said. “He’s 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.”
As part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series. Breeders’ Cup will pay the starter fees and guarantee a starting position in a corresponding Championships race for all Challenge Series race winners. In addition, Breeders’ Cup will provide a $40,000 travel allowance to the connections of all Championship starters from outside of North America and a $10,000 travel allowance for starters within North America that are stabled outside of California.
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