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Silmaril retires with more than $1 million in earnings

January 13, 2008|By LARRY YANOS

Maryland-based trainer Chris Grove enjoyed an outstanding campaign in 2007, and one of the thoroughbred stars that helped him attain that success ended her racing career in spectacular fashion on Saturday at Laurel Park.

Silmaril, a 7-year-old, won the $80,000 What A Summer Stakes and retired with career earnings of more than $1 million.

The Bowie-based mare, who won stakes at five different distances, became the 17th Maryland-bred millionaire with the victory.

The $48,000 first-place prize allowed her to move ahead of Urbane and Jameela on the all-time list. Silmaril ranks 15th on the list at $1,032,973.

The only mares ahead of her are Safely Kept ($2,194,206) and Shine Again ($1,271,840).

Cigar tops the Maryland-bred list at $9,999,815.

"She had a great career," the 38-year-old Grove said Saturday following the race. "Training a horse like that was a real experience, something special."

Grove admitted it was an emotional afternoon.

"Seeing her in the paddock, realizing it was her last race, was pretty tough," Grove said. "She's the best race horse I have ever trained. She did Saturday what she has done quite often in the past - hang off the pace 5 to 7 lengths and then run down the opponents like a real champion. She's a tough filly."

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Owners Stephen Quick and Christopher Feifarek have indicated the bay mare will be going to the breeding shed at St. Omer's Farm in Harford County.

Silmaril, ridden by jockey Jeremy Rose, covered Saturday's 6-furlong distance in 1:10.64 and beat All Giving by two lengths.

While Silmaril's win brought a smile to Grove's face, the trainer got an extra bonus on Saturday when Silmaril's sister, Another Jewel, won the eighth race.

The 2008 campaign is starting out quite well for Grove and he hopes to duplicate or surpass the effort from a year ago.

The Frederick, Md., native who saddled his first winner in 1997 had three outstanding horses in his barn last year - stakes winners Silmaril, Lexi Star and Five Steps.

Last year, Grove ranked in the top 20 in Maryland in wins and topped all conditioners with six stakes wins (three each from Silmaril and Lexi Star).

"We have 35 horses in the barn now. I guess you would say we have quality over quantity," Grove said. "I plan to use the same basic schedule as last year, run mostly in Maryland and ship occasionally to Charles Town and Delaware Park. I was thinking about getting some stalls at Charles Town but then I decided to stay at Bowie."

While losing a "superstar" like Silmaril, Grove can still look forward to Lexi Star and Five Steps competing in 2008.

"Lexi Star is home for the winter and being freshened up, and Five Steps is recovering from surgery on a chip in his ankle. He is probably about 60 days away from full recovery," Grove said.

Charles Town in 2008

Charles Town Races & Slots have released the live 2008 thoroughbred racing schedule.

Live racing will be conducted on Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday in January, February, March, April and May. In June, July, August, September and October, live racing will be conducted on Sunday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. In November and December, live racing will be held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Eclipse Award finalists

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers Association and Daily Racing Form have announced the finalists for the 2007 Eclipse Awards, as voted on and presented by the three organizations, in recognition of excellence in thoroughbred racing.

Winners in all categories will be announced at the 37th annual Eclipse Awards ceremony, to be held Jan. 21 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The finalists

· 2-Year-Old Male: Kodiak Kowboy, Pyro, War Pass.

· 2-Year-Old Filly: Country Star, Indian Blessing, Proud Spell.

· 3-Year-Old Male: Curlin, Hard Spun, Street Sense.

· 3-Year-Old Filly: Octave, Panty Raid, Rags to Riches.

· Older Male: Corinthian, Invasor, Lawyer Ron.

· Older Female: Ginger Punch, Hystericalady, Nashoba's Key.

· Male Sprinter: Fabulous Strike, Idiot Proof, Midnight Lute.

· Female Sprinter: Dream Rush, Maryfield, River's Prayer.

· Male Turf Horse: After Market, English Channel, Kip Deville.

· Female Turf Horse: Lahudood, Nashoba's Key, Precious Kitten.

· Steeplechase Horse: Good Night Shirt, McDynamo, Planets Aligned.

· Owner: Maggi Moss, Shadwell Stable, Stronach Stables.

· Breeder: Adena Springs, William S. Farish, Martin and Pam Wygod.

· Trainer: Steve Asmussen, Kiaran McLaughlin, Todd Pletcher.

· Jockey: Robby Albarado, Garrett Gomez, John Velazquez.

· Apprentice Jockey: Tyler Pizarro, Alonso Quinonez, Joe Talamo.

Finalists for Horse of the Year will be announced at the Eclipse Awards ceremony, and NTRA President and CEO Alex Waldrop will present the Horse of the Year trophy to the winning connections at the conclusion of the ceremony.




Larry Yanos is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His horse racing column appears each Sunday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at larryy@herald-mail.com.

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