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Silver Charm

2017 Silver Charm - Derby7web.jpg

Silver Charm, Gary Stevens up (Skip Dickstein photo)
Silver Charm
Induction Year: 
Mary Lou Wootton
Robert B. and Beverly J. Lewis
Bob Baffert
Silver Buck
Bonnie's Poker
Career Years: 

Tab Wrapper


Silver Charm came within three-quarters of a length of winning the Triple Crown in 1997 and was even better the following year. One of the most popular horses of the late 20th century, Silver Charm was a graded stakes winner in each of his four years on the track and thrilled fans with numerous gritty victories by narrow margins.


Bred in Florida by Mary Lou Wootton, Silver Charm was sired by Silver Buck out of the Poker mare Bonnie’s Poker. Sold to pinhookers Randy Hartley and Dean De Renzo at the 1995 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s yearling sale for $16,500, Silver Charm was then purchased for $30,000 by C. J. Grey early in the colt’s 2-year-old season and entered in the OBS April two-year-olds-in-training sale. He failed to reach the $100,000 reserve and Grey bought him back.


By this time, pinhookers J. B. and Kevin McKathan, sent trainer Bob Baffert a tape of Silver Charm’s presale workout. Baffert liked what he saw and purchase of the colt was negotiated. Bob and Beverly Lewis eventually paid $85,000 for Silver Charm and Baffert began training the horse.


Silver Charm broke his maiden in his second career start on Aug. 24, 1996 at Del Mar and followed with the first of his signature photo-finish victories in the Del Mar Futurity. Baffert then gave Silver Charm some time off to grow and mature for his 3-year-old campaign.


Silver Charm opened his sophomore season with a victory in the San Vicente Stakes before consecutive second-place finishes in the Sam Felipe Stakes and Santa Anita Derby. He cemented his legacy as a tough competitor with head victories over Captain Bodgit in the Kentucky Derby and Free House in the Preakness. The Triple Crown, however, was thwarted in the Belmont when Touch Gold and Chris McCarron defeated Silver Charm and Gary Stevens by three-quarters of a length in front of a crowd of more than 70,000. Although the Belmont was deflating, Silver Charm won the Eclipse Award for Champion 3-Year-Old Male.


Returning to the races as a 4-year-old in 1998, Silver Charm won the Strub Stakes by four lengths in February before traveling abroad to capture the $4 million Dubai World Cup in a thriller with a nose victory over Swaim. Later in the year, he dead-heated with Wild Rush in the Kentucky Cup Classic and won the Goodwood Breeders’ Cup Handicap before finishing second to Awesome Again by three-quarters of a length in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.


Silver Charm made five starts in 1999 as a 5-year-old. He won the San Pasqual Handicap and was retired after finishing fourth in the Stephen Foster Handicap with a career record of 12-7-2 from 24 starts and earnings of $6,944,369.