TORONTO, July 11, 2020 – Stronach Stable’s homebred gelding Silent Poet persevered over Admiralty Pier in a Connaught Cup clash on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course today at Woodbine Racetrack.
The Nick Gonzalez trainee defeated his main opponent in the seven-furlong feature contested on the outer turf, which was listed as soft as a result of recent rainy weather in the Toronto area.
With regular rider Gary Boulanger sidelined due to a training injury, Justin Stein picked up the mount and was impressed with the five-year-old gelding he had confronted in the past.
“I was really excited to ride him. He definitely showed me his stuff,” said Stein. “When I rode against him, I was on Cooler Mike, and we rolled right up to him like we were going to drive on by and Silent Poet looked at us and laughed, kind of like what he did today.”
Stein said the eight-time winner had the same attitude here, testing Admiralty Pier all the way. “Just so much heart, unbelievable.”
Silent Poet battled on top with Admiralty Pier through panels of :23.07 and :45.70, with City Boy and Gray’s Fable stalking the dueling leaders all the way into the stretch. The top pair pulled ahead, and the slugfest continued down the lane, with Silent Poet ultimately persevering by half a length in 1:23.62.
Blind Ambition finished 4-3/4 lengths behind Admiralty Pier, just edging out Olympic Runner for the show prize, while City Boy and Gray’s Fable rounded out the order. The field was reduced to six with the scratches of White Flag and Regally Irish.
“With a speedy horse like [Silent Poet] and another speed horse on the outside – we got the one-hole – you’re committed to a very forward position,” said Stein of his front-running strategy. “It depends on how bad the other horses wanted it, but I talked to Nick and he told me the horse was really easy to ride, according to Gary Boulanger, and that gave me the confidence I needed. I saw the horse run a bunch of times and he’s a pro.”
Winner of the Grade 2 Play the King Stakes last year, Silent Poet was sent postward as the 7-5 favourite and returned $4.90 to win. After wintering at Palm Meadows, he entered the Connaught Cup fresh off a victory in a 7-1/2-furlong prep on the inner turf when making his June 11 season’s debut.
The consistent son of Silent Name out of Cara Bella has missed the board just twice in his 15-race career. Today’s victory boosted his bankroll over the $550,000 mark.
Stein also won the Connaught Cup in 2014 with Ian Black trainee Excaper.
Live Thoroughbred racing continues, without spectators, on Sunday at Woodbine Racetrack with post time for the first of 11 races set for 1 p.m.