Silent Poet delivered trainer Nick Gonzalez his first top-level victory by running down favored Caravel and holding off Admiralty Pier in the CA$395,500 (US$308,458) Highlander Stakes (G1T) Aug. 22 at Woodbine.
The 6-year-old Silent Name gelding, a homebred for Stronach Stables, was ridden to a half-length win by Justin Stein. He returned $21.90 on a $2 win ticket as a 9-1 shot.
The Highlander, at six furlongs on the E. P. Taylor turf course, was Silent Poet’s third start of the season off two fifth-place finishes.
“Justin and I have been talking about it right up until this race,” Gonzalez said, “and he said, ‘You know, Nick, we drew two inside post positions his first two starts. I break, ‘Poet’ breaks well, and I’ve got these guys on the outside of me chirping, chirping, chirping, and ‘Poet’ wouldn’t relax’ … he used himself a lot more than he would of in the first eighth of the race. And he backed up both times.”
On Sunday, Silent Poet broke from the outside post 8.
“When the overnight came out and we had the 8 hole, Justin came by in the morning and said, ‘Nick, I think we’re going to be able to get a nice trip today.’ Everything worked out,” Gonzalez said.
The filly Caravel broke just to Silent Poet’s inside and went out for lead, setting fractions of :22.35 and :45.16. Silent Poet was third for the opening quarter-mile, then only a half-length off the leader at the half-mile point. Admiralty Pier was in last at that time.
After turning three wide into the home stretch, Silent Poet reeled in Caravel, while Admiralty Pier was just getting going on the outside. Silent Poet dug in and was able to hold off Admiralty Pier to complete the distance over firm turf in 1:07.98.
Admiralty Pier finished 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Caravel, who stayed on for third.
With a return to winning form, there’s now a possibility Silent Poet could contest the Sept. 18 Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1T), a race he finished ninth in two years ago. Stein won the Woodbine Mile in 2020 aboard the mare Starship Jubilee .
Silent Poet improved his record to 11-4-2 in 22 starts and his earnings to $873,108. He previously won a trio of grade 2 turf stakes at Woodbine—the 2020 Nearctic, 2020 Connaught Cup, and 2019 Play the King.
The Ontario-bred gelding is the first foal out of the Ghostzapper mare Cara Bella, who has two winners from three starts. Cara Bella, a half sister to Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Red Bullet, produced a Liam’s Map colt this year and was bred back to Liam’s Map for 2022.