The unheralded Louisiana shipper, a $2,700 Fasig-Tipton buy as a Kentucky yearling in 2004, won by a neck over Bob and John, a Triple Crown contender last year making his 4-year-old debut for trainer Bob Baffert. Bob and John, who won the Wood Memorial (gr. I) in 2006, was sent off at odds of 4-5.
A 4-year-old son of Real Quiet, who was trained by Baffert, Silent Pleasure earned his first graded stakes victory and picked up a winner's share of $185,000 for his owners, trainer Howard Scarberry and his wife, Penny, who race as S & S Stables. Scarberry collected the first graded stakes win of his career with Silent Pleasure, a winner of five of his last six starts.
"Bob and John tried to make a race of it with a strong move on the turn, but the winner wouldn't let us by," said Espinoza, who rode the colt for Bob and Janice McNair's Stonerside Stable.
"You've got to give a lot of credit to the winner," Baffert said. "That's a nice horse who is going good right now. I'm disappointed in the loss, but he ran well off the layoff and never gave up. I guess it was just my Lone Star Park Real Quiet curse revisited."
Baffert brought Real Quiet, the 1998 Kentucky Derby and Preakness (both gr. I) winner, to Lone Star Park for the 1999 Texas Mile and was upset by Littlebitlively.
Hebert hustled Silent Pleasure to the front on the inside as Wait in LIne and Stockholder pressed the pace through fractions of :23, :45 2/5 and 1:10 1/5. Bob and John, settled comfortably in fourth by Victor Espinoza, made up much ground while angling out three or four paths wide on the final turn. Silent Pleasure inched clear of his pace rivals to get command rounding the turn, but was overtaken briefly on the outside in upper stretch by the big-striding Bob and John. The dark bay colt fought back from the inside, however, when Hebert switched to the left hand, and prevailed in an exciting finish in a sharp time of 1:35 1/5.
"I watched Pat Day and Jerry Bailey for years, and they always waited until the last possible moment to go to the left-handed whip," said Hebert, who collected the biggest win of his 26-year career. "I did that in the last 50 yards, and he gave me something more. I knew they'd have to fight to get by him, he was doing it so easy."
Silent Pleasure won his last start, the Fifth Season Stakes at Oaklawn Park on April 12, and his two outings prior to that -- the Gulf Coast Classic and Delta Mile -- at Delta Downs, all in dominating style. His lifetime mark stands at 6-1-2 in 15 starts and Saturday's win nearly doubled his earnings to $396,555.
Scarberry said Silent Pleasure was likely to return to Lone Star for the $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap (gr. III) on Memorial Day May 28. Baffert hinted that Bob and John could return as well, but said he'd also nominate C'mon Tiger and last year's Lone Star Derby (gr. III) winner Wanna Runner, who is preparing for a return to the races.
John Franks bred the winner, who is out of the Vice Regent mare Wholelotapleasure
Sent off as the second choice in the field of six, Silent Pleasure paid $5.80, $2.60 and $2.20. Bob and John, up the track in both the 2006 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and off since a second-place finish in the El Cajon at Del Mar Sept. 2, returned $2.40 and $2.20.
It was eight lengths back to third-place finisher Dreamsandvisions ($3.60), who was followed by Wait in Line, Stockholder and Ramchi Six in the well-spaced finish.