- Discreet Cat could give this Derby season a real shot of pizzazz based on his spectacular win in the UAE Derby in only his third lifetime start. Barbaro is the only undefeated contender currently based in the U.S., but his wins have come on the turf and on a saturated dirt track. Discreet Cat has won all three of races spectacularly, showing speed as well as professionalism that belies his inexperience and youth (he’s a May foal). He rated kindly, exploded past the field when asked, and was all business as he never looked back, running straight and true to the wire. Walter, in the comments section, compared the final time to that of the World Cup and came up with a favorable comparison. Remember, he beat four-year olds too, as the race was open to Southern Hemisphere three-year olds. Fourth place finisher Invasor was foaled the previous August, and was previously undefeated, having won the Triple Crown in Uruguay.
It seemed strange to see Godolphin’s Simon Crisford question Discreet Cat's distance ability prior to the race, going so far as to say that “he may turn out to be a miler or a seven-furlong horse.” It’s hard to believe that Godolphin would purchase a colt off a maiden win at Saratoga if they had the least bit of doubt about his distance ability. If Crisford really had doubt, it certainly wasn’t based on his pedigree. He’s by Forestry, and Godolphin was almost willing to pay $16 million for one of those recently; they wouldn’t do that if they had doubts about him as a classic sire. Whatsmore, Discreet Cat is out of Pretty Discreet, who won the mile and a quarter Grade 1 Alabama; and his second dam is a half sister to Buryyourbelief, who won the Kentucky Oaks. His broodmare sire, Private Account, won the G1 Widener at ten furlongs. He’s inbred to Ribot and Buckpasser, and has a 2.67 dosage index.
Now the waiting game begins to see if he’s coming for the big day, even as, as reported by Walter, the UK books have installed him as the Derby favorite! Prior to the race, Crisford had said that he would have to “win and win well,” and added that “His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai will decide his next destination.” [Khaleej Times Online] That was quite a mouthful; do you think he'd mind if I just call him Al?
Crisford himself was still giving mixed signals.
"We have to decide which way to go now. He might not be a horse to backup too quickly and we need to decide if he is ready for Kentucky.On the World Cup telecast, Crisford even mentioned the Blue Grass as a possibility, though that seems to really contradict the prior caution he had expressed. The Blue Grass would be his third race in six weeks, and the Derby would be his 4th in two months. Perhaps a more cautious approach, as recommended by Chris McGrath of the UK’s Independent Online, would be more sensible:
"He is still quite an immature colt but I think this race will have done him a lot of good." [Sporting Life]
This race [the Derby], above all others, could wreck this colt as soon as make him. It presents a savage test of stamina and maturity, and Discreet Cat has not come off the bridle in three starts. His physique remains adolescent. As a May foal, walking behind the beefy Chilean runner in the parade ring, he looked positively delicate. With that rival failing to run his race, moreover, the strict form is only a foundation.- Great effort by The Tin Man in the Dubai Duty Free, but the dominanat winner David Junior is an emerging star, and trainer Brian Meehan said, "He's the best I've seen for a while and the Breeders' Cup Classic will hopefully be his main target for this year." [AP] David Junior is a Florida-bred; he’s by Pleasant Tap out of an Irish River mare who is a sibling to two stars; a half to Wild Event and a full-sister to Paradise Creek. Whatsmore, his second dam is a half-sister to turf champion and top sire Theatrical.
Discreet Cat has as much charisma as any horse in the stable since Dubai Millennium, but if he does stay 10 furlongs at the top level then it would be kindest to postpone his first trip to Churchill Downs to November, for the Breeders' Cup Classic. On the way he could pick off exhausted Triple Crown horses in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga, and he could even start off in its second leg, the Preakness Stakes - over a shorter trip, just a fortnight after the Derby principals have slugged it out in Louisville.
But it is hard to see his owner favouring prudence and caution over adventure and ambition. As a true horseman, he will abide with the stable's dictum to see how Discreet Cat has taken his race before making any decisions. As a sportsman, however, he has probably made up his mind already. [Independent Online]