ELMONT, NY – Owner/trainer Uriah St. Lewis’ Discreet Lover earned the biggest score of their collective careers on Saturday when he stormed home late and got up in the nick of time to win the Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes at Belmont Park.
The Jockey Club Gold Cup is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Discreet Lover receiving an automatic berth in the Classic at Churchill Downs on Saturday, November 3.
Breaking from post 7 under Manny Franco at 45/1 odds, Discreet Lover settled along the rail in mid-pack while the 3/5 favorite Diversify set a torrid pace while posting fractions of :22.72, :45.64, and 1:09.13. Rounding the far turn still holding the lead, Diversify’s advantage began dwindling sharply. Shortly after the field straightened for home, the two European shippers Mendelssohn and Thunder Snow overtook the early leader, but the hard-charging Discreet Lover was close behind and gaining with every step. Inside the final 1/16, Mendelssohn gave way along the rail while Discreet Lover matched Thunder Snow stride for stride. In the shadow of the wire, Discreet Lover poked his neck ahead to win the 1 1/4-mile main track event in a final time of 1:59.99.
“This horse always gives me all he has,” Franco said. “I knew I had a lot of horse under me. I was hoping they would come back to me and they did. I just need to get there one day and today was the day. He always hits the board.”
Thunder Snow’s game effort wasn’t enough to hold on for the victory, but he did outlast Mendelssohn by 1 3/4 lengths for second. Carlino rallied from the rear to take fourth by a 1/2-length over a spent Diversify, while Gronkowski failed to find that same kick and crossed in sixth. Uno Mas Modelo and Patch completed the order of finish.
Discreet Lover’s win was his second in a graded event following a score in April’s Grade 3 Excelsior Stakes at Aqueduct and improved his overall record to 44-7-7-7. The 5-year-old son of Repent increased his bankroll to $1,354,060 for St. Lewis, who purchased him as a juvenile for just $10,000.
“It’s the first Grade 1 for the horse and myself,” said St. Lewis. “He did it all. He can come flying. The wire came right when we wanted it to come. It was great, but I want to go back and spend some time with him. Let’s see how he comes out of it, and then we’ll go from there. One step at a time, but everything is paid for (to get to the Breeders’ Cup), so we don’t have to worry.”
Discreet Lover returned $93 to win, $25.40 to place, and $10.20 to show. Thunder Snow brought back $7.40 to place and $5.30 to show, while Mendelssohn paid $5.10 to show.