Sterling Silver points to Grade 1 Madison after Tampa Bay Downs triumph

Mark Anderson’s multiple graded stakes-placed New York-bred Sterling Silver returned in style from a more than three-month layoff Saturday when capturing the seven-furlong Manatee Handicap versus older fillies and mares by a head at Tampa Bay Downs.

Trained by Tom Albertrani, Sterling Silver kicked off her 5-year-old campaign with an impressive closing finish, and was awarded a 91 Beyer Speed Figure in victory.

“It was a really good effort. She really had to work at it, being trapped inside until the last quarter,” said Albertrani. “She had no running room at all until she got just past the quarter pole and managed to wiggle out of there to come with a strong run late.”

After breaking from the inside post and sitting sixth-of-seven through the first half-mile, Sterling Silver saved ground on the inside in the turn before getting a perfectly-timed cue from regular rider and Hall of Famer Javier Castellano to collar pacesetter Poiema right at the wire.

The Cupid gray exited the race in good order and will now have her sights set on the Grade 1 Madison sprinting seven furlongs on April 6 at Keeneland.

“She had a great gallop out and it was basically just a prep race,” said Albertrani. “She ran exactly how we would want her to – I think she could’ve even won a little easier. Now we’ll go to the next step. It looks like her best distance is six to seven furlongs.”

tampa bay downsBefore her respite, Sterling Silver tried a turf sprint, finishing fourth in the Autumn Days on November 17 at Aqueduct. The experiment followed a pair of two strong stakes performances at 6 1/2 furlongs over the main track in October when capturing the state-bred Iroquois and crossing the wire first in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom. She was subsequently disqualified from the latter due to interference in the stretch run.

“The owner hadn’t seen her in a while, Mark Anderson was at the races yesterday and said how much better she looks this year,” Albertrani said. “She has filled out and is carrying more muscle tone, a little more weight on her, and physically she couldn’t look any better. Hopefully as a five-year-old, she will have a good year now.”

Bred in the Empire State by Mallory Mort and Karen Mort, Sterling Silver was a $13,000 purchase at the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearlings Showcase. She now boasts 20-7-3-3 record and $692,988 in purse earnings with other state-bred stakes scores as a sophomore in Belmont’s Bouwerie and the Big A’s Franklin Square.