Racing closer to the pace than he had in last month’s Smarty Jones S., Silver Prospector rebounded from that loss and claimed his second Road to the Kentucky Derby series victory in Monday’s $750,000 Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park.
Rating in a pocket less than two lengths behind the front-running Wells Bayou, Silver Prospector was steered off the inside by Ricardo Santana Jr. at the top of the lane and steadily wore down the stakes newcomer to capture the 1 1/16-mile race by one length in 1:43.01, virtually the same time run by the older Warrior’s Charge in the Razorback H. (G3) one race earlier on the card.
“The horse was a little sharper…he was in a good position all the way around,” trainer Steve Asmussen said.
Owned by Ed and Susie Orr, Silver Prospector paid $11.40. Wells Bayou, who set a relatively brisk pace over the fast track, was easily second best, 5 1/2 lengths clear of 17-10 favorite Answer In. Shoplifted ran fourth and was followed by Taishan, Villainous, American Butterfly, Chase Tracker, and Smarty Jones winner Gold Street.
The Southwest was the final 10-4-2-1 scoring opportunity in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series. Silver Prospector has cumulatively earned 21 points, while Answer In boosted his total to six points and Shoplifted now has 13. Wells Bayou was the only one among the top four to register his first points in the series.
Silver Prospector 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 Street Sense S., in which he finished third, but got nearly five weeks to prepare for the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2). A winner by three parts of a length in the Kentucky Jockey Club over a sloppy track, Silver Prospector earned 10 Derby qualifying points for the victory, but only one when a non-threatening fourth behind Gold Street in last month’s Smarty Jones. His record now stands at 8-3-0-2, $713,051.
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. By Declaration of War, the Kentucky-bred was produced by the multiple stakes-placed Tap Softly, by Tapit.