by Karen M. Johnson
In his final breeze for the Sept. 30 Vosburgh Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park, Discreet Cat worked five furlongs in 1:00.84 on Belmont’s fast main track Sept. 24. It was the fourth-fastest of 23 works at the distance.
New York Racing Association clockers said Discreet Cat covered three furlongs in :36 3/5.
Jockey Garrett Gomez was aboard Discreet Cat, whose start in the six-furlong Vosburgh will be his first since finishing last in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) at Nad al Sheba racecourse March 31. At the barn following the work, Rick Mettee, assistant to Saeed bin Suroor, said he timed Discreet Cat in 1:01 for five furlongs.
After the Dubai World Cup, the Goldophin-owned Discreet Cat was diagnosed with an aggressive throat infection that blocked air flow to his throat and lungs, according to his connections.
Discreet Cat, a 4-year-old son of Forestry, entered the World Cup unbeaten in six starts, including a brilliant performance in the Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile (gr. I) in November 2006 at Aqueduct. In that race, Discreet Cat equaled the track record that Easy Goer established in the 1989 Gotham. Discreet Cat’s final time was 1:32.46.
Discreet Cat has been working steadily for his return and has had five works since he first hit the work tab at Saratoga Aug. 27.
“It didn’t take him long to get right back to it,” Mettee said Sept. 24. “After his first three-eighths breeze, he worked five-eighths. We will be sending out a sound and pretty fit horse.”
Mettee said if the timetable for Discreet Cat’s return permitted, he would have preferred to have run the colt during the Saratoga meet. The Godolphin assistant also said an easier spot in a seven-furlong race would have been optimal.
“This is a little close to the Breeders’ Cup, but you can’t be too picky and we are happy with him,” Mettee said.
In the United States this year, according to Godolphin’s Web site, the stable has had 17 winners. Should Discreet Cat win, it will be the first Godolphin win in a grade I stakes in this country in 2007.
“It will be fun to watch him run in a grade I,” Mettee said. “We haven’t had a winner of an impact race here this year, even though we have done fair enough. It will be nice for Discreet Cat to compete at the highest level and give him the chance to reestablish himself.”
Others pointing to the$400,000 Vosburgh are Fabulous Strike, First Defence, Mach Ride, Park Avenue Ball, Talent Search, and Will He Shine.
Godolphin will have the option of running Discreet Cat in either the $2-million TVG Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Monmouth Park Oct. 27 or the inaugural $1-million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile the day before. Discreet Cat doesn’t possess any Breeders’ Cup points, but he would earn an automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint if he won the Vosburgh under the Breeders’ Cup new format of “Win and You’re In” for selected races, such as the Vosburgh.