With a well-timed move in the stretch engineered by jockey Luis Contreras, Stronach Stables’ Silent Sting collared 6-5 favourite Blueblood to win the $125,000 Queenston Stakes on Sunday afternoon at Woodbine Racetrack.
The seven-furlong sprint for Canadian-foaled three-year-olds is one of the key prep races leading up to the $1 million Queen’s Plate, which will be held June 30 at the Toronto oval.
Making his season’s debut, Silent Sting tracked leaders Blueblood and Sable Island through opening fractions of :23.65 and :46.51 before swinging to the outside and hauling down his front-striding rivals. The Sid Attard trainee prevailed in 1:23.22 by a neck over Blueblood, with Sable Island 1-1/4 lengths back in third.
“He’s a lovely horse to ride,” said Contreras, who won half of the afternoon’s 10 races. “I had a perfect trip. I was just waiting to make my move and once I asked him to go, he gave me everything.
“I wondered how sharp he was going to be early, but he relaxed nice. I had a great trip all the way and he’s a really nice horse to ride. Sid had him very fit and ready.”
Silent Sting had finished no worse than second in four starts as a juvenile and capped off his two-year-old campaign with a victory in the Kingarvie Stakes last December. He was sent postward as the 3-1 second choice and returned $8.10, $3.20 and $2.50.
“He’s a classy horse. He loves what he’s doing. He loves to go out there and train and enjoy himself. Nothing bothers him,” said Attard. “Yesterday, I took him to the gate. I like to do that because he hasn’t seen the gate since last year and he just walked in and walked out like it was nothing for him. He’s a nice colt.”
Bred in Ontario by Phoenix Rising Farms, the Silent Name-Mona Mia colt was a $150,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland Sale.
The Stronach family silks were also on display earlier in the day as their Canadian Triple Crown nominated homebred Silent Poet (Silent Name-Cara Bella) broke his maiden with a dominant 5-1/2 length win in rein to Gary Boulanger.
“Today we had two Silent Name’s do well,” said Frieda Stronach. “We are having such a good beginning this year. We love Woodbine and the races and we just can’t get enough of it.”
Silent Sting combined with Blueblood ($2.60, $2.30) for a 3-7 exacta worth $20.20. A $1 trifecta of 3-7-6 (Sable Island) paid $37.30 and a $1 superfecta of 3-7-6-1 (Ellas My Love) returned $140.25. Aheadbyacentury and Eskiminzin completed the field. Wandofuhr was scratched.
Queen’s Plate Festival tickets are on sale now at Ticketmaster.ca. Country music star Brad Paisley will kick off the three-day event with a concert on Friday, June 29. The 159th running of the Queen’s Plate will be featured on Saturday, June 30 as well as extensive attractions, performances by The Reklaws and a post-race concert to close out the day with artists to be announced soon. The festival will continue on Sunday, July 1 with free Canada Day celebrations and fun for the whole family including a concert by acclaimed children’s music duo Splash’N Boots.
Live Thoroughbred racing resumes next weekend on Saturday and Sunday. Post time is 1 p.m. both days.
For more information, visit Woodbine.com.