LEXINGTON, KY – John Oxley’s Strike Silver stole the win in the shadow of the wire on Sunday, using a perfectly-timed ride under Julien Leparoux to nip Chelsea Cloisters in the final jump to take the $200,000 Indian Summer Stakes at Keeneland.
The Indian Summer is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Strike Silver receiving an automatic berth in the Juvenile Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs on Friday, November 2.
Breaking from post 2 at 5/1 odds, Strike Silver sat well off the pace at the rear of the field early while Mister Banjoman led through opening fractions of :21.68 and :45.25. Tipped out off of the far turn to commence his attack, Strike Silver began picking off slower foes with gusto in the stretch and closed with a furious rally, nipping new leader Chelsea Cloisters at the wire while running his final 2 furlongs in :23.98. The Mark Casse trainee’s final time for the 5 1/2-furlong sprint over the firm turf course was 1:05.00.
“We had a trip that we didn’t expect,” Leparoux said. “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. I made one run and it was a good one. At about the 1/8 pole, I thought I was going to get there. I had figured I would save ground and kick on at the end, and that is what he did.”
Hard-luck loser Chelsea Cloisters finished second for the third straight time following her efforts in the Group 3 Prix du Bois at Deauville and the $100,000 Bolton Landing Stakes at Saratoga. Reward the Miracle won a close three-way photo finish for third over the 5/2 favorite All About It and Blame the Frog. A similar photo for sixth went to Credit Swap over Hide the Demon, while behind them came Next Dance, Nitrous, and a weakened Mister Banjoman. The Sicarii and Jo Jo Air completed the order of finish. Abaco Dream and Bizzee Channel were scratched.
Strike Silver’s win was his second in three career starts, with his lone loss coming last out by a neck in the Grade 3 Sanford Stakes over the Saratoga main track. The son of Violence has now earned $180,600 in his lifetime.
“Mark did a wonderful job of getting him ready,” said Casse assistant David Carroll. “(Casse) wanted to try him on the turf. Julien Leparoux gave him a great ride and we’re just absolutely thrilled with him.”
Strike Silver returned $13 to win, $6.60 to place, and $5.20 to show. Chelsea Cloisters brought back $5.40 to place and $4.40 to show, while Reward the Miracle paid $13.60 to show.