SILVER MEDALLION's (Badge of Silver) only non-turf race prior to Saturday came as a well-beaten seventh in the Breeders' Futurity (G1) over Keeneland's Polytrack in October. The Michael J. Ryan colorbearer suffered trouble in that event, and was sent out to try an all-weather surface once again in the El Camino Real Derby (G3) on the Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields. The result this time around proved to be much different as the bay colt charged home a 1 1/4-length winner with jockey Russell Baze in the saddle. (Photo courtesy of Vassar Photography.)
Comma to the Top (Bwana Charlie) was the top draw in the 1 1/8-mile test, and tracked just behind pacesetter Jakesam (Smoke Glacken) through splits of :23 4/5, :48 and 1:12 1/5. Silver Medallion was forced to check off those two at the start of the race, but settled into a good spot behind while wide down the backstretch. Comma to the Top put in his bid in the stretch, drawing even with Jakesam, but began fading immediately after that.
Silver Medallion, meanwhile, was rallying down the lane and ranged up to wrest control away from the longtime leader. He finished up in 1:50 2/5 to return $15, $4.80 and $12 to his backers as the 6-1 third choice.
Jakesam was gallant in defeat, holding California Derby winner Positive Response (Pomeroy) to third by three parts of a length. Comma to the Top, the 1-2 favorite, was another 2 1/4 lengths back in fourth, while Formula Gold (Formal Gold) and Bluegrass Reward (Gold Reward) trailed. Anthony's Cross (Indian Charlie) scratched out of this one in favor of capturing the Robert B. Lewis S. (G2) at Santa Anita.
A winner at first asking in a photo-finish at Saratoga on August 4, Silver Medallion was among those compromised by an eventful start in the September 3 With Anticipation S. (G3) at the Spa and wound up a distant fifth. He switched to Keeneland's Polytrack for the Breeders' Futurity, and once again met with trouble en route to finishing seventh.
Back on the turf for an entry-level allowance at Churchill Downs in November, Silver Medallion was pinched back at the break, but did better to get up for second. He subsequently was switched from trainer Chad Brown to Steve Asmussen, and made a victorious debut for his new barn when capturing the grassy Eddie Logan S. on New Year's Eve at Santa Anita. This victory boosted his bankroll to $212,904 and improved his line to 6-3-1-0.
Bred by Brereton C. Jones in Kentucky, Silver Medallion brought $150,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. He is out of the Stalwart mare Another Vegetarian, whose best runner is millionaire Sweet Talker (Stormin Fever), heroine of the 2005 Queen Elizabeth II Invitational Challenge Cup (G1) and five other stakes. Another Vegetarian has since produced a two-year-old filly named Call Ahead (Harlan's Holiday).
This is also the family of 2010 Garden City S. (G1), Sands Point S. (G2), Virginia Oaks (G3) and Appalachian S. (G3) winner Check the Label (Stormin Fever), and further back, Grade 1 queen Likeable Style (Nijinsky II).