Zilver looks to keep rolling in the McFadden Memorial Sprint Claiming Series

Zilver looks to keep rolling in the McFadden Memorial Sprint Claiming Series

A racehorse’s life and career is never as simple as what’s on the past performance page. There’s always so much that occurs between each running line that helps to better paint a picture of that horse and how he or she got to where they are. For the five-year-old Thoroughbred runner Zilver, the story is one of many van rides, a few different owners, and finding a track he loves.

Zilver was born in the bluegrass of Kentucky on a chilly February morning in 2008. His father was an undefeated stakes winner in Ontario named Silver Deputy, and his mother was an allowance winner at Belmont Park named Faster Tapper. Zilver was a little late to develop and made his first career start in September of 2011 as a three-year-old. He wasn’t bet much that day, but finished a strong second in a $20,000 maiden claiming event at Fairplex in Southern California.

Two starts later Zilver was breaking his maiden at Fresno. Then he shipped over to Parx Racing in Philadelphia. He next tried his luck at Penn National before heading back to the west coast and Santa Anita racetrack.

After a disappointing tenth place finish at Santa Anita on New Year’s Day 2012, the newly turned four year-olds trainer Adam Kitchingman put him in for a $3,500 claiming price at Turf Paradise in Phoenix. He caught the eye of trainer Jonathan Nance who splits his time between Turf Paradise and Portland Meadows and Nance and owners DC Boys Stable claimed him. After three unsuccessful runs during the spring of 2012, Nance decided to lay the horse up and sold the horse privately to a couple of other clients of his, Bob and Patrick Cosgrove.

“We’ve always just raised our own babies,” said Pat Cosgrove. “Bob and I just thought it would be fun to have one to run at Portland Meadows that season.”

The Cosgroves are brothers and both live about 40 minutes from Portland Meadows, with Bob living in Longview, Washington, north of Portland Meadows, and Pat living in Yamhill, Oregon, Southwest of the track. Portland Meadows has proven to be a good ‘meet in the middle’ spot over the years.

Zilver responded right away for the Cosgroves as he powered home to a near six length win against $2,500 claimers in his first start at Portland Meadows on July 18, 2012. He ran two runner-up finishes in his subsequent two starts and the Cosgrove’s decided to try him in the McFadden Memorial Sprint Claiming Series. In the first leg of the series on August 22, 2012 he was matched up against another Jonathan Nance trainee, Kuya, as well as a Jim Fergason runner who was the favorite, Declan Downs.

“I told Jonathan before that race that I thought his other horse and Jim Fergason’s horse were both better than Zilver,” said Pat Cosgrove. “But we also thought that at five furlongs he was going to make them earn their pay.”

Turns out it was Ziver who earned the pay, taking the lead in mid-stretch and holding off Kuya to win by a hard fought head at the wire. Both Kuya and Declan Downs were claimed for $2,500 out of that first leg, but nobody took Zilver.

“We were a little surprised nobody claimed him,” said Bob Cosgrove. “I think some people were worried that maybe he couldn’t compete with those other horses as the races got longer.” 

Just two weeks later in the 2nd Leg of the McFadden Memorial Sprint Claiming Series saw one of the more memorable races in recent memory, as Declan Downs and Zilver hooked up right when the gate opened and battled the entire five and one half furlongs. Zilver had a half-length lead going into the turn, but Declan Downs, once again the favorite in the betting, pushed closer on the turn, drawing to within a neck. For the final quarter of a mile, no more than a head, literally a foot or two, separated Zilver and Declan Downs. But that entire quarter mile, Zilver kept his nose in front and held on to win as Declan Downs(see picture at right) could never push on by. 

Declan Downs was claimed again. Once again, nobody else wanted Zilver. So Zilver strode into the $20,000 Final on September 26, 2012, and yet again, was not the favorite. Even though he’d won the first two legs of the series, Declan Downs was bet as the favorite. This time the race was six furlongs and the big money was on the line. Zilver broke beautifully and jockey Marijo Terleski got him into stride, but Declan Downs loomed just to his outside, only a half length back. As they came to the quarter pole, once again, Declan Downs drew closer and closer. But once again, Zilver dug in. They batted tooth and nail, all the way to the wire, but Zilver never let him by and held on to win by a head (see picture at below). 

“He wasn’t going to let anyone by that night,” said Terleski.

Zilver took most of the winter of 2013 off as he made his way south to Turf Paradise to train with Jonathan Nance in April of this year. Nance elected to run Zilver up at Arapahoe Park in Denver, Colorado, and he improved with each and every start before winning a claiming race on August 10th. Nance shipped him to Portland Meadows and he arrived in style, winning his first two races here, both starter allowance events. Zilver is 7 for 13 in his career at Portland Meadows.

“I think sending him to Arapahoe really got him ready for the Portland season,” said Bob Cosgrove.

The Cosgrove’s put Zilver back into the McFadden Memorial Sprint Claiming Series back on October 16th. Again it was five furlongs and again for $2,500.

“Some people asked us why were putting him in again so low,” said Bob Cosgrove. “But you gotta put them in where they can win.”

Zilver was once again spectacular and once again was not the favorite. However this time, someone finally did claim him. Trainer Mark Jones plunked down the $2,500 to purchase the horse and he’ll be running him in Leg 2, which is coming up on Wednesday November 6th. That race will be a $3,200 claimer, and odds are, Zilver will be claimed again.

“I’m sure somebody will claim him again,” said Bob Cosgrove. “Heck it might even be us,” he said with a laugh.