where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2018-09-30 05:40:27  
Jockey Club Gold Cup 45/1 upset for Discreet Lover

Uriah St. Lewis’s 5-year-old Discreet Lover, ridden by Manny Franco, shocked the 1 ¼ mile, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) today at Belmont Park, wearing down Dubai World Cup winner Thunder Snow (IRE) in the final yards to win by a neck at 45-1 and gained an automatic berth into the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic through the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of 85 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on Nov. 2-3.

As a part of the benefits of the Challenge series, the Breeders’ Cup will pay the pre-entry and entry fees for Discreet Lover, a Florida bred son of Repent owned and trained St. Lewis, to start in the Classic. Breeders’ Cup also is providing a $10,000 travel allowance for all horses based outside of Kentucky to compete in this year’s Championships.

Discreet Lover ($93.00) joins Hronis Racing’s 5-year-old Accelerate, winner of the Pacific Classic, Kazumasa Yamada’s 6-year-old gelding Nonkono Yume (JPN), winner of the one-mile February Stakes (G1) at Tokyo Racecourse on Feb. 18; Reddam Racing’s 4-year-old Pavel, who won the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) and the 5-year-old Diversify, who won the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga on Aug. 4, as the other Classic qualifiers thus far.

Making his 44th career start, Discreet Lover won his first race this year since taking the Excelsior (G3) at Aqueduct on April 7. He finished third in the Suburban (G2) at Belmont in July, third, beaten four lengths in the “Win and You’re In” Whitney Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 4, and finished 12th in the Woodward Stakes on Sept. 1 in his last start.

“It’s the first Grade 1 for the horse and myself,” said a jubilant St. Lewis, born in Trinidad and came to the US in 1973. “He did it all. All I want to do is cash my ticket.”

Breaking from post 7 in the eight-horse Gold Cup field, Discreet Lover stayed well off the hot pace set by Whitney winner Diversify, the 3-5 favorite, who took the field through quick fractions of 22.72, 45.64 and 1:09 through three-quarters of mile, with Travers Stakes runner-up Mendelssohn in pursuit. Discreet Lover was swing six wide at the 3 /16 pole and made his steady drive toward the leaders. Godolphin’s Thunder Snow turned for home and overtook Mendelssohn inside the final furlong and looked like a winner inside the final 100 yards before Discreet Lover passed him on the outside at the wire.

Mendelssohn finished third, followed by Carlino in fourth, Diversify in fifth, Gronkowski in sixth, Uno Mas Modelo in seventh and Patch in eighth.

Discreet Lover completed the 1 ¼ miles in 1:59.99 over a fast track.

St. Lewis’s instructions to Franco were simple: “Take back and make one run Last time he stayed too close (in the Woodward) and didn’t have any horse in the stretch. Today, we took back and made the one run and when they were going that fast, I said ‘they’re going real fast.’ We ran a good time; 1:59-and four (1:59.99), that’s a good time. I’m really pleased with my horse.”

“This horse always gives me all he has,” said Franco. “I know I had a lot of horse under me. I was hoping they would come back to me and they did.

“I’m very excited for the Breeders’ Cup.”

Thunder Snow’s trainer, Saeed bin Suroor was disappointed but satisfied with the overall performance from the Godolphin-owned 4-year-old son of Helmet (AUS).

“For a second, I thought he would win the race,” said Suroor. “This is what I like to see. The horse running second in this race gives, it gives me confidence toward the future, towards the Breeders’ Cup. That’s the main target for him.” 

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