SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY – Owner/trainer Uriah St. Lewis’ Discreet Lover made a major move in deep stretch to take command and steal Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Excelsior Stakes at Aqueduct.
Breaking from post 2 under Manny Franco, Discreet Lover stumbled slightly before taking back while Zanotti set early splits of :24.81, :48.72, and 1:12.70. As the field rounded the far turn, Discreet Lover began slowly picking off horses. Put under a drive as he emerged onto the front stretch, Discreet Lover exploded and drew off convincingly in the late stages, crossing first by 2 1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:50.45 for the -mile main track event.
“When he went down out of the gate, I said, ‘Well I’ve got to use plan B,'” Franco said. “Take back and wait as long as I could. As soon as I tapped him on the shoulder, he picked them up and he was going so well.”
Zanotti was able to hold on for second over Harlan Punch, with Backsideofthemoon taking fourth over the 2-1 favorite Control Group. The rest of the order was completed by Wild About Deb and Admiral Blue.
Discreet Lover scored his first career graded stakes win, improving his record to 37-6-7-5. The 5-year-old son of Repent increased his career bankroll to $630,860.
“I bought him at the sale for $10,000 at the Timonium sale,” said St. Lewis. “He tries all the time, doesn’t matter what. He just grabbed his quarter coming out of the gate, so I got to go back and look at him, but he tries all the time. He eats good, he doesn’t care who he runs against. He’s always trying. He comes up here a lot of times and finishes fourth and third, and today, he finally did it.”
Discreet Lover returned $17.60 to win, $8.80 to place, and $4.60 to show. Zanotti brought back $4.70 to place and $2.90 to show, while Harlan Punch paid $3.80 to show.