Strike Silver has BC Juvenile Turf Sprint berth after upset win

Courtesy of Marty McGee of


LEXINGTON, KY – Putting a remarkable turn of foot on display, Strike Silver passed all 11 of his rivals down the stretch and earned an automatic Breeders’ Cup berth with an improbable victory Sunday in the $200,000 Indian Summer Stakes on the Keeneland turf.

Ridden by Julien Leparoux for owner John Oxley and trainer Mark Casse, Strike Silver trailed from the start of the 5 1/2-furlong race before hitting full stride down the center of the turf course to nail Chelsea Cloisters by a neck. The dark bay Violence colt returned $13 as fourth choice after finishing in 1:05 over a turf course rated good, earning a spot in the new BC Juvenile Turf Sprint on Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs.

“I thought I was going to be close to the pace, but we got bumped a little bit leaving the gate so I was last and just bided my time,” Leparoux said. “I made one run and it was a good one. At about the eighth pole I thought I was going to get there. I had figured (before the race that) I would save ground and kick on at the end, and that is what he did."

Chelsea Cloisters, a 4-1 shot, forged to the front after chasing a frantic pace with what seemed a well-timed ride from Jose Ortiz, but he was helpless to hold off the torrid rush from Strike Silver, a $275,000 yearling purchase who was making his turf debut after finishing second in the Grade 3 Sanford in July at Saratoga in his second career start.

Reward the Miracle, a 39-1 shot, was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third and a nose before All About It, the 5-2 favorite who loomed boldly before settling for fourth.

The Indian Summer was last run in 2001 as a main-track event for 2-year-olds prior to being revived this year as a Breeders’ Cup lead-in.

The $2 exacta (2-1) paid $50.80, the $1 trifecta (2-1-5) returned $717, and the 10-cent superfecta (2-1-5-12) was worth $347.04.

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