● Owner Frank Stronach has captured the Queen's Plate on four occasions with Holy Helena (2017), Shaman Ghost (2015), Awesome Again (1997) and Basqueian (1994) racing their way into the history books. On Saturday, June 30, Silent Poet will look to write his name into the annals of Canada's most famous race when he breaks from the gate in the $1-million Queen's Plate, first jewel of the OLG Canadian Triple Crown.
● Trained by Nick Gonzalez, the homebred son of Silent Name-Cara Bella has won two of three starts, with his only loss coming on debut to the stakes placed Kentucky-bred Verboten. After a winter spent in Florida, Silent Poet returned to action on April 22 at Woodbine and romped to a 5 1/2-length score in a five-furlong main track sprint which set up a gritty 1 1/4-length score on May 27 in a seven-furlong optional claiming tilt on the Woodbine green.
● With Gary Boulanger in the irons, Silent Poet was down inside and desperate for racing room last time out but the veteran rider found a seam late and surged to victory. "Gary Boulanger was so impressed with him last time. He got into all that traffic in a crowded turf race and Gary told me, 'Nick, he ran like a horse that's five-years-old and has run 30 times.' That's how professional he was," said Gonzalez.
● A step up to a mile and a quarter is a big ask for a young horse, but Gonzalez will enter the Plate with every confidence in Silent Poet who trained in Florida throughout the winter. "He's been in training a long time. He came back here very fit and even though we've only got two sprint races into him, the horse is in a good way," said Gonzalez.
● Gonzalez is a two-time Plate winner having scored with Big Red Mike (2010) and Midnight Aria (2013) and he'd love to add a third. "I'm still not over 2010 when we won with Big Red Mike and we were lucky enough to be in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen," said Gonzalez. "And then to claim a horse a few years later and win it again with Midnight Aria, it's just two dream days. Now that we've done it twice, there's no reason to think it can't happen a third time."
Owner – Stronach Stables
(See Real Dude bio)
Trainer – Nicholas Gonzalez
Born on January 26, 1952, Nick Gonzalez resides in Fort Erie, Ontario with his assistant and wife Martha Gonzalez and operates large, successful stables at both of Ontario's thoroughbred racetracks, Woodbine and Fort Erie. He captured the Queen's Plate in 2010 with Big Red Mike and again in 2013 with Midnight Aria. On June 21, 2010 Gonzalez celebrated his 1,000th career victory with Boca Pass at Fort Erie.
Jockey – Gary Boulanger
Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Gary Boulanger, 49, began his riding career in Washington State and won three straight jockey titles at Longacres in Seattle, breaking Gary Stevens' meet record with 247 wins in 1991. He also netted two riding crowns at Calder Race Course from 1994-1995. Boulanger returned to Canada, specifically Woodbine, in June 2000 and won 78 races, six stakes and over $4 million in purses. He has been associated with many Sovereign Award champions including Dancethruthedawn, who won the Queen's Plate and Woodbine Oaks in 2001. Boulanger's career appeared over following a 2005 spill at Gulfstream, but after a brief stint as a trainer, he made a comeback after an eight-year absence. Boulanger was the recipient of the 2017 Avelino Gomez Memorial Award for contributions to racing on and off the track.