News and STORIES

Silver Prospector Scores Southwest Stakes

Author: Clint Goodman
Published: Tuesday February 18, 2020
Ed and Susie Orr's Silver Prospector moved one step closer to becoming a millionaire earner with a Feb. 17 win in the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park.

Starting out slow, Silver Prospector and Ricardo Santana Jr. were near the back of the field at the break. Wells Bayou and Florent Geroux broke strongly and held a one-length lead. Villainous followed in second with Answer In in third. 

Santana and Silver Prospector made their way forward with a strong performance along the backstretch, and they were just off the pace in sixth as the quarter-mile went in :22.89. When the field hit the half-mile in :46.60, they were in third by a head over Answer In.

As the field entered the far turn, Wells Bayou continued to hold the lead. Answer In moved three-wide off the turn and angled in, and he moved ahead in front of Silver Prospector while trying to retake third-place. Answer In couldn't hold on, and Silver Prospector moved ahead in the two path and passed Answer In before beating out Wells Bayou for the lead in the deep stretch.

Patiently Handled

Wells Bayou tried hard to hold on, but Silver Prospector was patiently handled as he drifted out slightly before being straightened. The Steve Asmussen trainee and his jockey broke away in the final furlongs and won by a length. The final time for the 1 1/16-mile dirt test was 1:43.01.

"The last two weeks the horse was training unbelievable! We didn't get any rain, so the track was just how he liked it," Sanatana said. "He pulled me in a great spot the first quarter, and I just became his passenger."

Wells Bayou finished in second followed by Answer In 5 1/2 lengths back in third. 

Brad Cox conditions both Wells Bayou and Answer In. 

"I was proud of both horses," said Cox. "They ran extremely well. Obviously, set some nice hot fractions, or some hot fractions, and was able to continue with a nice run down the lane. I was very pleased with them both. We'll regroup with them and see what's next."

"I went a touch quicker than what I wanted to," said Geroux of Wells Bayou. "My horse ran hard even when the other one came by me; he was trying really hard. It was a great race. It was his first time against stakes company, and the winner was a grade 2 winner."

Shoplifted, a graded stakes-placed winner, took fourth and earned a qualifying point toward the Kentucky Derby. Shoplifted is also trained by Asmussen, and he is now 13th on the Derby leaderboard. 

The order was completed by Taishan, Villainous, American Butterfly, Chase Tracker, and Gold Street. 

Kentucky Derby Prep Race

The Southwest is a Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) prep race, and it awarded 10 points towards a berth in the first of the American classics to Silver Prospector. He is now sixth on the leaderboard. 

Silver Prospector is a son of Declaration of War, and he already had 11 qualifying points coming into the race from a victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs at 2. He also finished fourth during his sophomore debut in the Jan. 24 Smarty Jones at Oaklawn. 

"His position was by design. I thought he got a little too far behind in the Smarty Jones," Asmussen said. "He was in good position all the way. We'll look at the Rebel Stakes (March 14) and Arkansas Derby (April 11). This series is quite lucrative, and the points are very important."

Silver Prospector was bred in Kentucky by Hargus Sexton, Sandra Sexton, and Silver Fern Farm. He is the fifth foal out of the Tapit mare Tap Softly. Consigned by Eisaman Equine to the 2019 Ocala Breeders' Sale April Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training, he was purchased for $190,000 by the Orrs. 

Silver Prospect's record improved to 3-0-2 from seven starts with earnings of $713,051.