If there was any question about who is the top 3-year-old sprinter on the East Coast, Discreetly Mine answered it emphatically Aug. 28. The son of Mineshaft rolled through blistering fractions on the speed-favoring Saratoga main track and held off a pair of rivals to win the $250,000 NetJet King’s Bishop Stakes for his first grade I win (VIDEO).
Johnny Velazquez, who earned his third victory in the prestigious race, piloted Discreetly Mine to a 1 1/4–length win in a final time of 1:23.16 for seven furlongs on the fast dirt. It was the third consecutive graded stakes win for the bay colt, who has found a home sprinting after cutting back from a failed try in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) in May. Todd Pletcher trains the homebred for E. Paul Robsham Stables.
Facing six talented rivals, including five-time grade II winner D' Funnybone who had defeated him in two previous meetings, favored Discreetly Mine was sent straight to the front from post 4 by Velazquez. He outhustled the speedy Bulldogger while running a quick opening quarter mile in :21.90 and went into the turn going easily on the front end.
With Bulldogger still pressing and Hurricane Ike and D’ Funnybone matching strides in the next group, Discreetly Mine sprinted through a half mile in a seemingly suicidal :44.11. He hit the eighth pole with a 1 1/2–length advantage over Hurricane Ike while getting six furlongs in 1:09.44.
Bank Merger was coming hard on the outside under Alan Garcia and was a real threat to Discreetly Mine, who began to show signs of tiring in mid-stretch after the daunting fractions. But the colt had enough left to hold off Bank Merger and a late-running Latigo Shore to earn his biggest career win.
Bank Merger settled for second, two lengths in front of Latigo Shore. Hurricane Ike was fourth, while second choice D’ Funnybone, who was in contention until they straightened away, faded to last.
“The plan was, if he broke well, to let him go away from there and let him do it,” said Velazquez, who won the King’s Bishop in 2002 and 2006. “He was going well all the way, even though we were going pretty fast. I was hoping he’d be able to give me something down the stretch, and he gave me everything he had.”
Discreetly Mine entered the King’s Bishop off a huge 8 3/4-length romp in the Aug. 2 Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga. Prior to that he won the Jersey Shore (gr. III) July 4 at Monmouth Park. D’ Funnybone soundly defeated Discreetly Mine in the seven-furlong Woody Stephens (gr. II) at Belmont Park in June, but clearly they are two different horses now.
Discreetly Mine, who is out of the Private Account mare Pretty Discreet, was 13th in the Kentucky Derby, the last of three two-turn starts for him this year. He won the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) at Fair Grounds in February to earn his chance at the roses.
“Any time you go :21, :44 and change for seven eighths, that's pretty demanding,” said Pletcher. “We were happy to hold on. We basically felt like we had to (go for the lead) the way the track was playing. We'd be inclined to train up to the Breeders' Cup (Sprint, gr. I on Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs). Twenty-six days (since winning Amsterdam), 123 pounds; he's spotting everyone but D' Funnybone significant weight, but he was gutsy enough to get it done.”
Discreetly Mine, now 5-4-0 from 13 starts, upped his earnings to $799,350.
The winner paid $4.10, $2.90, and $2.30. The exacta (4-6) returned $29.80 and the trifecta (4-6-1) was $276.
In Jack's Memory was fifth, followed by Bulldogger and D' Funnybone.