Silver State battled with Rated R Superstar the length of the stretch before getting the better of that rival by a neck at the wire to capture the Listed Essex Handicap at Oaklawn Park March 13.
The Essex was the fourth straight victory for the four-year-old colt by Hard Spun, who is signaling that he will be a force to be reckoned with in the older horse division this year. Silver State entered Saturday's race off a victory in the Listed Fifth Season Stakes on Jan. 23.
Silver State broke alertly and was settled toward the rear of the field as Harpers First Ride set the early pace. The dark bay colt began his move on the far turn, ranging up to challenge for the lead while racing four-wide. Silver State took a slight lead at the top of the stretch but was soon joined by Rated R Superstar. The pair battled the through the final furlong to the wire, with Silver State eventually prevailing by a neck.
Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC, Silver State is out of the mare Supreme, a Stakes-winning daughter of Empire Maker. Silver State hails from the immediate female family of G1 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos.
Hard Spun is the sire of over 80 career Black Type winners. In addition to Silver State, Hard Spun is represented by 2021 Stakes winners Antoinette (G3 The Very One Stakes) and Caddo River (Listed Smarty Jones Stakes).
Hard Spun is standing the 2021 breeding season at Jonabell Farm for $35,000, stands and nurses.