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LEXINGTON, KY – Despite not getting much chance to catch his breath, Tom Durant’s Silver Dust remained resilient to the very end, gamely holding off his four rivals to win Saturday’s $150,000 Ben Ali Stakes (G3) at Keeneland.
Silver Dust broke from the far outside post 5 under Adam Beschizza and settled off the right hip of Sprawl, who posted opening fractions of :23.79 and :47.63 before Silver Dust ranged up to take the lead entering the far turn.
Sprawl fought back gamely along the rail as Beau Luminarie ranged up along the outside, and even as the 4/5 favorite Night Ops made a late push in the shadow of the wire, Silver Dust remained in front until the job was finished.
The Bret Calhoun trainee crossed a 1/2-length clear, completing the 1 1/8-mile sloppy (sealed) main track route in 1:50.21.
“He’s a very talented animal and he’s proven at this level,” Beschizza said. “These small fields, I feel like he gets a hold of the race a lot easier. Today, he had a nice stalking position and he had a hold of the race at the right time. He took the bull by the horns and he dug deep.”
Night Ops won the photo for second by a neck and a pair of noses over Beau Luminarie, Sprawl, and Treasure Trove to complete the order of finish.
Silver Dust’s win was his first since the February 2020 Mineshaft Stakes (G3) at Fair Grounds and fourth at the graded stakes level, improving his overall record to 33-7-7-5. The 7-year-old Tapit gelding is fast approaching millionaire status, having bankrolled $975,677 to date.
“He’s been good lately,” said assistant trainer Jade Lowder. “He’s been ready to throw a race like this and Bret’s done a great job with him. Five-horse field, outside trip the whole way, I think he really liked the track and liked the going.”
Silver Dust returned $11.20 to win, $4.40 to place, and $2.40 to show. Night Ops brought back $2.80 to place and $2.10 to show. Beau Luminarie paid $2.40 to show.
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