Silent Poet, a four-year-old Silent Name-Cara Bella gelding, trained by Nick Gonzalez, heads into the $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile on a two-race win streak, including a track record performance in the Grade 2 Play The King Stakes on August 24 at the Toronto oval.
Under regular rider Gary Boulanger, Silent Poet set a new E.P. Taylor Turf Course record of 1:19.22 for seven furlongs. It bested multiple stakes winner and 2004 Woodbine Mile (then known as the Atto Mile) champ Soaring Free’s former record of 1:19.38, a mark that had stood for 15 years.
“He showed a lot of try last year,” said Boulanger after the win. “This year, he’s so focused on his job. He’s just been a lot of fun to be around. Nick’s done a tremendous job with him, I’m just grateful I get to ride him.”
Gonzalez, who has 1,504 career wins to his name, including a pair of Queen’s Plate triumphs (2010, Big Red Mike, and 2013, Midnight Aria) was admittedly looking ahead to the Woodbine Mile in the final strides of the Play the King, the dark bay’s first graded stakes crown.
“I was saying that, yes,” offered Gonzalez. “I kind of had thoughts about it before the race, but I was trying to play it cool. After he did what he did, and the way he did what he did, in track record style, you had to be pretty excited. Even though we trainers don’t like to get too far ahead of ourselves, you couldn’t help but think what might happen in three weeks.”
Silent Poet has been as consistent as they come in his career, boasting six wins, three seconds, and a third from 11 lifetime engagements, including a 2018 Vice Regent Stakes victory over one mile of turf. He’s banked nearly $400,000 lifetime and has missed the board on just one occasion when competing in last year’s Queen’s Plate.
Gonzalez knows Silent Poet, who was equally impressive in winning his 2019 debut on July 21 at Woodbine, will have to step up his game even more when he loads into the gate on September 14.
He’s confident he can.
“We’re just going to keep things simple. We’re not going to breeze him because the race comes back in three weeks – we’ll just gallop him into his race. It’s going to be a different cast of characters for this race, and we know that, but I can’t worry about anyone else that’s coming. He deserves to be there.”
RICOH WOODBINE MILE POST POSITION DRAW SET FOR SEPTEMBER 11
The field for the 23rd running of the $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile will be finalized at the post position draw and media conference next Wednesday, Sept. 11 with NBA Champion Norman Powell of the Toronto Raptors serving as guest drawmaster. The media event will begin at 12 noon.