ELMONT, N.Y. – Discreet Lover, the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup winner, was placed on the veterinarian’s list by the New York Racing Association, meaning he must undergo further evaluation and pass certain simple protocols before he is permitted to race again.
Uriah St. Lewis, the owner and trainer of Discreet Lover, said he is not concerned by this development and does plan on running Discreet Lover in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3 provided the horse is doing well.
St. Lewis said Sunday morning that Discreet Lover was very tired after the Gold Cup, but otherwise, he felt the horse was fine. St. Lewis said he wouldn’t make a decision about the Breeders’ Cup until the middle of this week.
“I want to go 100 percent,” St. Lewis said Sunday by phone from Parx, where the horse returned by van Saturday night. “But I got to make sure the horse is good before I worry about me. I want him to feel good and come out of it good, and if everything is good, we go from there.”
According to Jennifer Durenberger, the chief examining vet for NYRA, Discreet Lover appeared to be in some distress after he galloped back to be unsaddled following his neck victory over Thunder Snow at 45-1 odds in the Gold Cup.
While the horse was not vanned off, he was placed on the vet’s list “for further evaluation,” Durenberger said. In order to get off the vet’s list, Discreet Lover must work a half-mile in 52 seconds or faster no earlier than 10 days from his previous race. That work can take place at Parx, where he is based. He must also pass a blood test that would show no medication in his system other than Lasix, or, as Durenberger described it, “race-day conditions.”
Discreet Lover was placed on the vet’s list following the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont, where he finished fourth. He got off the vet’s list in time to return to Belmont four weeks later and run third in the Grade 2 Suburban. He has five weeks between the Gold Cup and the Classic.
“If we have to work him off the vet’s list, we’ll work him off the vet’s list,” St. Lewis said. “It’ll be like the same thing we did in the Met Mile; we worked him off the vet’s list, we came and ran him in the Suburban and showed them that nothing was wrong with him.”
St. Lewis said he believes Discreet Lover was simply tired after running 1 1/4 miles in 1:59.99, rallying from 15 lengths off the pace to beat Thunder Snow and capture his and St. Lewis’s first Grade 1 win. He earned a 103 Beyer Speed Figure.
St. Lewis said he was too much in a celebratory mood after the race Saturday to argue with the NYRA veterinarians. He said Sunday that he is still absorbing that he won the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
“Unbelievable, once in a lifetime,” said St. Lewis, who bought Discreet Lover for $10,000. “We beat a nice field yesterday. That wasn’t just a regular field; we beat a nice field. I’m proud of him.”
Should he elect to run in the Classic, St. Lewis said he plans to ship Discreet Lover to Churchill Downs at least two weeks out from the Breeders’ Cup.
Thunder Snow, the Gold Cup runner-up, was scheduled to be flown Monday to Kentucky, where he will have a month at Churchill Downs to prepare for the Classic.
Tommy Burns, assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor, said Thunder Snow came out of the race in good order.
“Proud of him,” Burns said. “Disappointed we didn’t get the win, coming all this way, but he ran super, and he proved he’s still a Grade 1 horse.”
Mendelssohn, who finished third after pressing the hot early pace of Diversify, left Belmont at 7:30 a.m. Sunday and was to be flown to Ireland, where it is expected he will be prepared by Aidan O’Brien for the Classic.
Diversify, who faded to fifth after running a mile in 1:33.19, came out of the race without any physical issues, according to Melissa Cohen, assistant to trainer Rick Violette.
Ralph Evans, who owns Diversify with his daughter Lauren, said no decision has been made on whether Diversify will still be pointed to the Classic. Diversify earned a fees-paid berth in the Classic by virtue of his victory in the Grade 1 Whitney at Saratoga in August.
“We have not discussed it since the race,” Evans said. “We probably won’t for at least a few days.”
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
Visit DRF.com for additional news, notes, wagering information, and more.