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TORONTO, ON – Silent Poet, showing a new dimension after disappointing front-running tries in his first two starts this year, rallied from just off the pace and held off an onrushing Admiralty Pier to capture Sunday’s $395,500 Highlander Stakes (G1) by a diminishing 1/2-length with Justin Stein aboard.
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Caravel, the 2/5 choice, while seeking her fourth straight victory in what was hoped to be a prelude to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), finished third in the field of eight for the 6-furlong turf race on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course.
Silent Poet was the first Grade 1 stakes winner for trainer Nick Gonzalez and third for Stein, who won last year’s Ricoh Woodbine Mile with Starship Jubilee.
“Justin and I have been talking about it right up until this race,” said Gonzalez, “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.”
Silent Poet drew the outside post for the Highlander, facilitating the change in tactics.
“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,” said Gonzalez.
Caravel, with Queen’s Plate-winning rider Irad Ortiz Jr. in the irons, assumed command early and clicked off an opening 1/4 in :22.35 en route to a 1/2-mile in :45.16.
Silent Poet, who had stalked from third and moved to within a 1/2-length of Caravel with a 1/4-mile to run, had collared the choice and led by a 1/2-length with a furlong to run before hanging on for the 1/2-length win in 1:07.98 on a course rated firm.
Admiralty Pier, last at the 1/4 pole, finished strongly on the far outside to nail down second money, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Caravel.
City Boy finished another 3/4 of a length back in fourth with Honey Won’t, Chuck Willis, Old Chestnut, and Turned Aside rounding out the order of finish.
Silent Poet, a 6-year-old Adena Springs homebred by Silent Name out of the Ghostzapper mare Cara Bella, was winning for the 11th time in 22 career outings, all at Woodbine. Those successes include Grade 2 scores in the 2019 Play the King and the 2020 Connaught Cup and Nearctic, all on the turf.
There’s a possibility Silent Poet could contest the $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1) on September 18.
He returned $21.90 to win and the exacta with 12/1 Admiralty Pier was $177.20 for $1. Caravel completed a $197.35 trifecta ($1) and 15/1 City Boy rounded out a $1 superfecta worth $1,183.45.
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