Silver State Takes Essex Handicap For Fourth Consecutive Victory

Silver State rolled to his fourth consecutive victory for trainer Steve Asmussen on Saturday, winning the $500,000 Essex Handicap at Oaklawn in Hot Springs, Ark., from off the pace under Ricardo Santana Jr.

Rated R Superstar, an 8-year-old making his 50th career start and the 2019 Essex winner, finished second by a neck nder Ramon Vazquez, with Night Ops 1 3/4 lengths back in third and Harpers First Ride fourth in the field of six older runners. Tax, the 120-pound highweight, was scratched.

Silver State, a 4-year-old by Hard Spun owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing, carried 118 pounds and ran the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:42.73. He paid $4.40 as the favorite, winning for the fifth time in nine career starts.  He was bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings.

Harpers First Ride, making his first start for Robertino Diodoro after spending most of his career in Maryland, dueled with Green Light Go through fractions of :23.57, :47.67 and 1:12.22 while Silver State and Rated R Superstar raced at the rear of the field. Green Light Go retreated on the turn as the back markers began to gain ground on the turn and into the stretch.

Silver State had the jump on Rated R Superstar and maintained his lead throughout the stretch, passing the mile in 1:36.57 and holding sway for the victory.

“We had a beautiful trip,” Santana said. “I was in the position I wanted to be in. He relaxed really well for me and turning for home, he gave me a really nice finish.”

Silver State was on the Triple  Crown trail early last year, finishing second in the G3 Lecomte and third in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at Fairgrounds. After a seventh-place finish in the G2 Louisiana Derby in March, he went to the sidelines. Silver State returned with a seven-length allowance victory at Keeneland in October, won a Churchill allowance in November and took the Fifth Season Stakes in at Oaklawn in January.

“It’s a great partnership with the Hortons and Winchell Thoroughbreds,” Asmussen added. “They’ve done so much for me. This horse has always shown a lot of potential. We gave him the necessary time and he’s come back to win four races. This was a very quality win today.”

The post Silver State Takes Essex Handicap For Fourth Consecutive Victory appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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