NEW ORLEANS, LA – After finishing a narrow second in last year’s running, Tom Durant’s Silver Dust put forth a sparkling performance in Saturday’s $100,000 Louisiana Stakes (G3) at Fair Grounds.

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Breaking from post 2 under Jack Gilligan as the 3/5 favorite, Silver Dust settled comfortably into a close stalking position with Roiland to his outside. Ahead of them, Gun It held command while posting fractions of :24.80, :48.16, and 1:12.58. 

Ranging up along the pacesetter’s outside in the far turn, Silver Dust took the lead near the 1/4 pole and immediately began separating himself. Drawing away in the stretch, Silver Dust was geared down inside the final 1/16 of a mile before crossing victoriously.

The Bret Calhoun trainee completed the 1 1/16-mile event over the fast main track in a final time of 1:43.29.

“The race worked out perfectly today,” Gilligan said. “He’s a big, strong horse and I was able to get him into the position I wanted. Bret (trainer Calhoun) and I have been really happy with how he’s been working recently. We knew he was going to run great today. His demeanor has changed, he feels like he loves his job now, whereas before he was a bit temperamental and would act up in the paddock and gate. Last time out (second in the Lukas Classic) he really made a turn around. He does everything the right way and couldn’t ask for a better result.”

Blended Citizen rallied from near the rear to neck out a weakening Gun It for second. It was 4 lengths back to Roiland in fourth, while behind him came Tone Broke and Kukulkan to complete the order of finish.

My Boy Jack and Captivating Moon (the latter a cross-entry in the Colonel Bradley Stakes) were scratched.

Credit: Hodges Photography

Silver Dust’s win was his third at the graded level following triumphs last year in the local Mineshaft Handicap (G3) and the West Virginia Governor’s Cup Stakes (G3). The 6-year-old gelded son of Tapit improved his record to 25-6-7-2 with $702,277 earned.

“We will keep him here at the Fair Grounds and filter through this series (G3 Mineshaft next on February 15) and try to keep him fresh for a long campaign,” Calhoun said. “If he keeps running like this, there are some big races throughout the year that would be nice to tackle. We want to keep him as fresh and consistent as we can.”

Silver Dust returned $3.20 to win, $2.20 to place, and $2.10 to show. Blended Citizen brought back $3 to place and $2.40 to show, while Gun It paid $2.60 to show.