With each passing weekend, Todd Pletcher’s stable of standout 3-year-olds gets stronger and stronger. One week after Rule wired the field in the Sam F. Davis (gr. III) and just minutes after Eskendereya romped in the Fountain of Youth (gr. II), E. Paul Robsham Stables’ homebred Discreetly Mine took a full field of sophomores gate to wire in the $300,000 Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) (VIDEO) Feb. 20 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
Pletcher, one of the sport’s top trainers for much of the past decade but winless in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), may have his best shot yet to win the elusive classic in 2010. The four-time Eclipse Award winning trainer also has several other top 3-year-olds with legitimate chances at making the Derby starting gate on May 1, including Connemara, who scored the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) at Golden Gate Fields later on Feb. 20.
In the 1 1/16-mile Risen Star, Discreetly Mine broke alertly from post 4 under Javier Castellano and went straight to the front. Making his first start at more than one mile, the son of Mineshaft beat speedy Tempted to Tapit to the first turn and never looked back. He got the first quarter-mile in an easy :24.60 and a half-mile in :48.75. Tempted to Tapit tracked in second under David Cohen, while Northern Giant raced in third. Drosselmeyer, the 2-1 favorite, raced into contention along the rail as they made their way into the far turn.
Able to hold the lead while running six furlongs in a pedestrian 1:13.44, Discreetly Mine hit the top of the lane with confidence and was two lengths ahead of Tempted to Tapit with a furlong remaining. He repulsed a mild challange by his rival on the way to a 1 1/2 length-victory in a final time of 1:44.88 on a fast track.
Tempted to Tapit held second by a neck over 53-1 Northern Giant and John Jacinto. Drosselmeyer, who put in a mild bid along the rail, settled for fourth.
"I expected him to be in the lead," Castellano said. "He broke well out of the gate and he looked happy galloping along. I’m very satisfied with the way the race developed; this course tends to favor those that come from behind. We got a position, relaxed, made a move on the backstretch and just continued to the wire."
Bred in Kentucky and out of the Private Account mare Pretty Discreet, the winning bay colt broke his maiden at third asking last summer at Saratoga, then finished runner-up in both the Futurity (gr. II) and Champagne (gr. I) Stakes at Belmont Park. He ran fourth in his 3-year-old debut on Jan. 9 at Gulfstream Park in the sloppy Spectacular Bid Stakes.
Discreetly Mine is now 2-3-0 from seven starts with earnings of $359,350.
Sent off as the second choice, Discreetly Mine paid $7, $4.20, and $3.80. The exacta (4-2) returned $50.20 and the trifecta (4-2-7) was $848.80.
Of Tempted to Tapit's first stakes effort, Cohen said: "My horse didn’t break too fast, which is kind of his style. I was behind horses in the first time and then got him outside and he seemed to relax very well. We were going a pretty easy pace and he ran good. He finished very strong and held of those other challengers for second.”