Silver Max (right) defeats Wise Dan in a shock result at KeenelandPICTURE: Matt Wooley/EquiSport Photos
Wise Dan stunned by Silver Max at Keeneland
Report: USA, Saturday
Keeneland: Shadwell Turf Mile (Grade 1) 1m½f, AW, 3yo+
WISE DAN'S winning streak has come to an end after the reigning Horse of the Year was beaten into second by Silver Max (Dale Romans/Robby Albarado) in the Shadwell Turf Mile.
Rather incongruously given its title, the $750,000 event was actually run on Polytrack at a mile and a sixteenth after heavy rain forced it to be taken off the grass.
The 1-2 favourite, who had won his previous nine starts, was caught four wide throughout after starting in gate ten and could not get to front-running Silver Max.
"He ran a good race, he just didn't run his A-game today," said Wise Dan's jockey John Velazquez. "First time running on the Polytrack and it's really wet and it seemed like he was tiring from it today."
Silver Max was sent straight to the lead and travelled cosily on the front end as Wise Dan endured a troubled passage in mid-division, being fanned six wide at the first turn after a coming together with Handsome Mike.
The champion rallied on the home turn to mount a challenge but he could not bridge the gap to 15-2 shot Silver Max, who completed a hat-trick in graded stakes. The winning margin was a length and a quarter, with Willcox Inn taking third more than three lengths away.
John Velazquez: praised Wise DanPICTURE: Getty Images
"He kept trying," added Velazquez. "At the three-eighths pole, I thought I was going to be in control, that it was going to be easy, but when I went after him, Silver Max started running again. He handled the track okay, but the track is different today - a lot of water. He had to work harder. Other than that he kept trying and ran hard."
Wise Dan's trainer Charles LoPresti added: "He was running hard and in his stalking position like he should be. Johnny said when he came out of the turn, that is where he usually drags him and takes it to him and I can tell inside the eighth pole that he was riding him and Silver Max just kept going. We weren't backing up any but we weren't gaining that ground."
Asked whether the change in surface contributed to the defeat, Lopresti said: "Maybe with the water on it, it was more sticky. That's what it looks like to me but I am not going to make any excuses.
"He ran a great race; he really did Johnny said he won fair and square - he just got loose on the front end."
Winning jockey Robby Albarado said of Silver Max: "He's got such a high cruising speed. Dale said, ‘Take it to them right away and let them catch you.'
"The horse has been training forwardly - the best he's been doing since he started with him. Dale prepared him well this year with stretching his races out. He's a fresh horse."
>>Because the race was transferred from the turf, it has to be downgraded one level to Grade 2 status pending review by American Graded Stakes Committee. As there were no non-runners from the original field of ten, it is likely to retrieve its Grade 1 status.