When Silverbulletday was announced as the choice in the contemporary female division to join the 2009 class in the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame, my first reaction was pretty limited. I mean, even though I covered some of her races in 1999, I guess I never fully appreciated how great a filly she was because she raced so many times outside of California.
This is a filly who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in 1998 and came back to win the Kentucky Oaks the following spring. It’s becoming more and more apparent that 2-year-old champions, particularly fillies, just don’t seem to carry over their brilliant form as juveniles to their 3-year-old campaigns. Halfbridled and Sweet Catomine are two that come to mind, and this year Stardom Bound has not looked like the same filly she was in 2008. Whether it be injuries or whatever, they just are not transferring their greatness from one year to the next.
But Silverbulletday, trained by new Hall of Fame member Bob Baffert and owned by Mike Pegram, was the exception to the rule. She was brilliant as a juvenile and equally as illuminating as a sophomore when she won, among other races, the Ashland at Keeneland, the Gazelle at Belmont Park and the Alabama at Saratoga to go with her Kentucky Oaks score. That’s four Grade I victories at four different race tracks.
Overall, the daughter of Silver Deputy won 15 of 23 starts for earnings of a little more than $3 million. She was a true champion, one that I obviously didn’t appreciate enough when she was racing.
Pegram was unable to attend Monday’s Hall of Fame announcement because of a previous commitment, but he issued a statement concerning Silverbulletday.
“She was a gift from heaven to me,” he said. “You always dream to have a great one like this, but she’s going to be very hard to reproduce in the future because she was just that good. She’s just one of those once-in-a-lifetime horses, and I was lucky enough to get one.”
And most of us were lucky enough to have seen her run.