12/26/2012 6:17PM

Santa Anita: Silentio scores in Sir Beaufort

Benoit & Associates
Silentio, under Rafael Bejarano, collects his first stakes victory by a half-length in the Sir Beaufort for 3-year-olds.

ARCADIA, Calif. -  A month later than expected, Silentio made his stakes debut in the $150,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes at Santa Anita on Wednesday.

The patience paid off handsomely.

Silentio had an ideal trip under red-hot jockey Rafael Bejarano to win the Grade 2 Sir Beaufort Stakes for 3-year-olds over a mile on turf. 

Silentio ($8.40) held off a stubborn run from 3-1 favorite Battle Force to win by a half-length in 1:34.27 on a good turf course.

The Sir Beaufort was Silentio’s fourth start. Owned by Alain and Gerard Wertheimer and trained by Gary Mandella, Silentio was a candidate for the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby on Nov. 25 until he became ill in the week before the race.

“There was nothing really wrong with him,” Gary Mandella said. “He had a minor throat infection.”

Given a chance to recover, Silentio thrived in late November and early December, working four times. He was the second choice in the Sir Beaufort.

Bejarano, who won the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes earlier in the day with Book Review, had Silentio outside throughout the Sir Beaufort. Racing three-wide on the turn, Silentio caught the front-runners Big Bane Theory and Midnight Crooner in early stretch and led by a head with a furlong remaining.

Mandella was impressed with the win after expressing concern about the turf course following overnight rain.

“I wasn’t sure how he’d act on soft turf, but it didn’t matter,” he said.

Battle Force, also making his stakes debut, finished a length in front of an unlucky Press Baron, who had a bit of traffic in the stretch in the field of eight.

Silentio and Battle Force were first and second in a maiden race on turf here on Oct. 1, 2011, the career debut of both horses. Battle Force made the second start of the year in the Sir Beaufort. He was third in the Grade 3 Generous Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park in November 2011.

 “We thought he was a high-caliber horse and he proved it again,” Shirreffs said.

Silentio, by Silent Name, has won 3 of 4 starts and $165,960. Mandella said the Grade 2 Arcadia Stakes against older horses on Feb. 2 is a potential race for Silentio.