Discreet Cat will be making his first start in nearly six months in the Vosburgh.

Discreet Cat will be making his first start in nearly six months in the Vosburgh.

Skip Dickstein

Vosburgh: Discreet Cat on Comeback Trail Again

Discreet Cat headlines a field of eight in Sept. 30 Vosburgh (gr. I) at Belmont Park.

The spectacular Sept. 30 card at Belmont Park includes four Grade I events, each with Breeders’ Cup implications. One of the more anticipated is the $400,000 Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I), which includes the return of 4-year-old superstar Discreet Cat, who will be making his first start in nearly six months.

Godolphin’s Discreet Cat returned to the United States in May, six weeks after suffering the first loss of his brilliant but enigmatic career. The seventh-place finish in the March 31 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) was attributed to a severe throat infection that led to the third long layoff of his career.

A winner of his first six starts, the son of Forestry-Pretty Discreet will be going to the starting gate for the fifth time in America. The last three were in New York, and all of them were fantastic. An 11-length allowance win at Saratoga last summer started the dazzling string of races. That was followed by a 10 1/4-length score in the Jerome Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont last October. A head-turning victory in the Nov. 25 Hill ‘N’ Dale Cigar Mile (gr. I) at Aqueduct was the most impressive, as the bay colt equaled Easy Goer’s 1989 one-mile track record of 1:32.40.

Now, with a half a year of recovery time under him, Discreet Cat, who will be ridden by Garrett Gomez, will attempt yet another comeback, this time at six furlongs. And based on his recent works, which included a five-furlong breeze in 1:00.84 Sept. 24, there is no indication it won’t be a successful one.

“Obviously, he’s a top-class horse and it’s exciting getting him back to the races,” said Rick Mettee, assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor. “I’d feel a little better if this race was 6 1/2 or seven furlongs and it’s a tougher field than you’d like to meet in the comeback race, but the Vosburgh is here and we’ve got to get him going again.

“He’s done well over the last six weeks. I really started noticing a change in him the last three weeks in Saratoga.”

After the Vosburgh, the $1.55-million earner could try either the TVG Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) or the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, both at Monmouth Park. But before then, he must conquer a tough group of speedsters.

Among the challengers is Fabulous Strike, a 4-year-old Pennsylvania-bred gelding who has proven to be a terrific sprinter. Based out of Penn National and trained by Todd Beattie, Fabulous Strike has won eight of 13 lifetime starts, five of them coming at six furlongs.

One of those came at Churchill Downs in June, a two-length score in the Aristides Stakes (gr. III), when he burned six furlongs in a freakish 1:07.64, just missing a track record. After that, the son of Smart Strike-Fabulous Find suffered his first setback in five stakes tries, finishing a well-beaten fifth in the Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. II) at Calder Race Course July 7. Since then, the Tea Party Stable homebred has worked four times, most recently an impressive five-furlong breeze at Presque Isle Downs in :59.00.

Fabulous Strike drew the rail and will be ridden by Ramon Dominguez.

Also to be contended with are Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s 4-year-old homebred Talent Search, and King’s Bishop Stakes (gr. I) runner-up First Defence. Talent Search has won three times this year for trainer Mark Shuman, most recently taking the six-furlong Teddy Drone Stakes at Monmouth Park by 6 1/4 lengths. By Catienus, out of Mrs. K., Talent Search has placed in nine of 11 career starts.

First Defence dueled with Hard Spun in the Aug. 25 Kings Bishop before giving way in the final yards. Before that the Juddmonte Farms’ homebred won a pair of races, including the 1 1/16-mile Long Branch Breeders’ Cup Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths July 14 at Monmouth. The 3-year-old Unbridled's Song colt is trained by Robert Frankel.

Completing the field of eight are New Jersey-bred Park Avenue Ball, Bob Baffert-trained E Z Warrior, Smile Sprint Handicap winner Mach Ride and 5-year-old Will He Shine.

$400,000 Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I, Race 7, 4:10 p.m.), Three-Year-Olds & Up,  Six Furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Fabulous Strike (PA), 124, Ramon A. Dominguez
2. Park Avenue Ball (NJ), 124, Rafael Bejarano
3. E Z Warrior (KY), 122, Victor Espinoza
4. Discreet Cat (KY), 124, Garrett K. Gomez
5. First Defence (KY), 122, Javier Castellano
6. Mach Ride (FL), 124, Elvis Trujillo
7. Will He Shine (KY), 124, Alan Garcia
8. Talent Search (KY), 124, Ryan Fogelsonger