Fresh off victory in the Grade I La Brea, Rafael Bejarano, united for the first time with the Gary Mandella-trained Silentio, made it two stakes wins in-a-row on opening day as he held off 3-1 favorite Battle Force and Mike Smith in the final sixteenth of a mile to win the Grade II, $150,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes, for 3-year-olds at one mile on turf by a half-length, getting the distance on a course listed as “good” in 1:34.27.
Owned and bred by Wertheimer and Frere, Silentiobroke his maiden at Santa Anita going one mile on turf in his debut, on Oct. 1, 2011. He was subsequently given time off and came back to win an allowance race at 1 1/16 miles on turf on Sept. 5 at Del Mar, prior to running third in a second-condition allowance on Oct. 12 at Santa Anita.
“The only thing I’ll take credit for is we gave him a lot of time for his injury as a 2-year-old,” said Mandella. “He won last year here and came out of the race with activity in his tibia…But the bigger thing was he had some cysts in his hocks. They were dug out surgically and we gave him a lot of time to get over it.”
Although he had never ridden him, Bejarano was happy with the conditions.
“He really liked the turf today,” said the likeable Peruvian. “…the way he ran today, he was clear from the outside (post eight) and it was much better for him…that’s why he gave me a good turn of foot in the stretch.”
Smith, who had ridden Battle Force in his two previous starts, was quick to compliment his mount.
“He ran too good to lose,” said Smith. “I really have to applaud the winner because he beat me today, but they both ran winning races. I think it will be to our advantage as soon as we get to go a little further.”
Press Baron, off at 16-1 with Victor Espinoza, sat close to the pace and finished third, one length behind Battle Force. The early fractions of 23.14, 46.86, 1:10.78 were carved out by fourth-place finisher Big Bane Theory and Joe Talamo. Eventual winner Silentio took the lead at the top of the stretch, stopping the seven furlong split time at 1:22.59.
Silentio paid $8.40, $4.20 and $3.00. Battle Force paid $3.80 and $3.20. Press Baron paid $5.60 to show.
The winner’s share of $90,000 boosted the son of Silent Name’s bankroll to $165,960. His record now stands at 4-3-0-1.