Silent Poet wins the Grade 1 Highlander Stakes at Woodbine.
The Grade 3 $150,000 Jacques Cartier Stakes headlines Sunday’s 10-race card at Woodbine.
A six-furlong main track event for 4-year-olds and upwards, the Jacques Cartier has attracted a field of 10, a group that includes multiple graded stakes winner Silent Poet.
Trained by Nicholas Gonzalez, Silent Poet, a 4-year-old son of Silent Name (JPN)-Cara Bella, arrives at his latest engagement off a second-place finish in the 5 ½-furlong main track Thorncliffe Stakes on April 17.
It was the first start of the campaign for the Stronach Stables’ homebred, who brings a record of 11-5-2 from 23 starts into the Jacques Cartier.
“He came out of that race really well,” said Gonzalez. “We were all happy with it. You have to give a lot of credit to the horse [Arzak, also into run in the Jacques Cartier] that beat us, but ‘Poet’ ran really well after having such a long time off and galloped out well too. The best part of the race is that he came out of it super. Justin [jockey, Stein] came over last Sunday and we gave him a nice little breeze. We’re looking forward to this race.”
Last year, Silent Poet raced only three times, but capped off his campaign in stellar fashion, winning the G1 Highlander, contested at six panels on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, marking the fourth graded crown for the Ontario-bred, and the first for Gonzalez.
It remains a treasured win for the two-time Queen’s Plate winning conditioner.
“That was such a gutsy and determined effort, and every time I think of that race it puts a big smile on my face.”
Silent Poet launched his career on August 25, 2017, finishing second in a six-furlong turf race at Woodbine, the only start of his 2-year-old season. He then won his next two starts before finishing twelfth in the 2018 Queen’s Plate.
His first stakes score came in the 2018 Vice Regent, with his first graded success coming one year later in the G2 Play the King.
Other wins of note for the multiple Sovereign Award finalist include the G2 Connaught Cup and G2 Nearctic, both in 2020.
“I’ve been training horses for over 50 years and he’s one of those horses that makes a trainer’s job much easier. It’s not an easy job, but horses like him really are special. He’s delightful, he’s easy to train and he loves his job. You’re never going to have a barn full of horses like him, but I’ll tell you what, when you’ve got one like him, it’s really, really good.”
Souper Stonehenge, who won last year’s edition, is back to defend his crown. Other starters include multiple stakes winners Arzak and Secret Reserve, graded stakes winner Tap It to Win, undefeated Striker, and Sovereign Award winner Gretzky the Great, Canada’s 2-year-old champion male of 2020.
The Jacques Cartier goes as race eight with a 1:10 pm first race post time. Fans can watch and wager on all the action through HPIbet.com and the Dark Horse Bets app.
FIELD FOR THE JACQUES CARTIER
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – White Flag – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Roger Attfield
2 – Secret Reserve – Leo Salles – Michael Mattine
3 – Gretzky the Great – Antonio Gallardo – Mark Casse
4 – Striker – Luis Contreras – Josie Carroll
5 – Tap It to Win – Rafael Hernandez – Mark Casse
6 – Arzak – Kazushi Kimura – Michael Trombetta
7 – Silent Poet – Justin Stein – Nicholas Gonzalez
8 – Red River Rebel – Gary Boulanger – Kevin Attard
9 – Lenny K – Gary Boulanger – Kevin Attard
10 – Souper Stonehenge – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse