Undefeated Discreet Cat will no doubt be challenged at some point. But Sunday's $155,800 Jerome Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park wasn't it.
The talented Godolphin Stable sprinter, making just his second start in more than six months, demolished a field of four opposing 3-year-olds in the one-turn mile event by 10 1/4 lengths. Discreet Cat, a bay son of Forestry
--Pretty Discreet (Private Account), won the fifth straight race of his career in a time of 1:36 2/5 on a track rated "good."
Under a tight hold from jockey Garrett Gomez, the 1-20 choice Discreet Cat broke smoothly and was in second place behind Valid Notebook on the outside coming away from the gate. But he soon pulled his way to the lead, taking the field through fractions of :22 4/5, :45 4/5 and 1:11. With a quarter mile to go, Gomez had no challengers and Discreet Cat galloped home far in front without encouragement. Discreet Cat carried 124 pounds, eight to 10 pounds more than his rivals.
Discreet Cat broke his maiden in his debut at Saratoga in August 2005 by 3 1/2 lengths before being purchased and transfered to the barn of Saeed bin Suroor in Dubai. There he won the UAE Derby (UAE-I) March 9 -- over a field that included multiple grade I winner Invasor -- by six lengths.
"From the first day he came to Dubai, I could see he had a lot of class," bin Suroor said. "There has always been plenty of speed with him. He's been very impressive. I was a little worried today about the ground, but the jockey said he handled it very well.
"We'll keep our options open for the Breeders' Cup or Cigar Mile," bin Suroor added. "This horse has the class to run in big group I races. Everything we've asked, he's done so easily. That gives us a lot of confidence for the future. We'll probably give it 10 days, and then decide with Sheikh Mohammed (bin Rashid al Maktoum)."
A couple of training setbacks delayed Discreet Cat's previous start until Aug. 25, when he was ridden for the first time by Gomez and rolled to an 11-length win over an optional allowance/claiming field at Saratoga.
He earned $95,280 Sunday and has now banked $1,374,180.
"Today, he was a little more `amped,'" Gomez said. "What we tried to do with him the other day was to try to get him to settle. Today, he left there with `run' on his mind.
"From the five-eighths pole to the quarter pole, I got him into a nice little stride and he got really comfortable. I let him gallop out."
E. Paul Robsham bred the winner in Kentucky. Discreet Cat began his career with trainer Stanley Hough.
He paid $2.10 and $2.10. Valid Notebook held second under Javier Castellano by 7 1/2 lengths, returning $3. There was no show wagering.
Nar, Quietly Go, and Noonmark trailed.