10/12/2013 1:09PM

Belmont: Discreet Marq can rate in Pebbles if necessary

Benoit & Associates
Discreet Marq, shown winning the Del Mar Oaks, will cut back to a mile for the Pebbles.

ELMONT, N.Y. – While Monday’s $200,000 Pebbles Stakes at Belmont Park may be an easier spot than Saturday’s Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge at Keeneland would have been, it is certainly no walkover for the Grade 1 winner Discreet Marq.

Discreet Marq, a New York-bred daughter of Discreet Cat, will meet seven rivals in the Pebbles, the featured event on a 10-race Columbus Day card at Belmont. The Pebbles, race 8 on the program, is run at a mile over the outer turf course.

Discreet Marq won three consecutive stakes from May through August, starting with the Grade 2 Sands Point here, and ending with the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks in Southern California. She returned from Del Mar to run in the Grade 1 Garden City, where she finished second behind the French import Alterite.

Trainer Christophe Clement had considered running Discreet Marq in the Queen Elizabeth, but noted that he didn’t want to ship her, considering he’s planning on shipping her back to California for the Grade 1 Matriarch at Betfair Hollywood Park on Dec. 1.

“Because I want to ship her again at the end of the year, I cannot do it all the time,” Clement said. “There’s nothing wrong with the filly. She’s training well. She’s doing well.”

Discreet Marq had most of her success racing on the front end. But in the Del Mar Oaks, she rated off the pace, winning after rating in third. There appears to be plenty of pace signed up in the Pebbles, but that doesn’t concern Clement, who has jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. riding from post 8.

“I could care less about the pace scenario,” Clement said. “The rider can do whatever he wants. The filly’s doing great and I’m excited to see her run. If there’s a decent pace he can sit off the pace. If there’s not enough pace he can be on the pace. It’s really not an issue.”

Among the speed horses in the field are Tapicat and Mariel N Kathy.

Tapicat, trained by Bill Mott, should appreciate cutting back to a mile after finishing fifth in the Grade 2 Lake Placid at 1 1/8 miles in her last start. Before that she ran third in the Grade 2 Lake George at 1 1/16 miles.

“I just think she’s going to be better suited to a mile,” Mott said. “I could see her getting a little tired first time back, which I think she did.”

The French-bred Dauphine Russe makes her North American debut and first start for trainer Chad Brown after going 1 for 9 in France. She came to the United States – and to Brown – along with Alterite, who won the Garden City here last month and was favored in last Saturday’s Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge at Keeneland.

“She’s been holding her own pretty well, seems like the mile is the right distance to get her started,” Brown said. “She’s been training right here at Belmont so she gets to run right out of her own stall. We’re expecting her to run well.”

Summer of Fun won the Auntie Mame Stakes at Saratoga before finishing fifth in the Garden City after chasing the slow early pace early on. She, too, may appreciate cutting back to a mile.

Teen Pauline, With Sugar On Top and Frege complete the field.

Possible BC Marathon prep

Percussion could be auditioning for a start in the $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Marathon when he runs in Monday’s $100,000 I’m a Banker Stakes.

The I’m a Banker is scheduled for 1 1/16 miles while the Marathon is run at 1 3/4 miles. Percussion finished second to Calidoscopio, last year’s Marathon winner, in the Grade 2 Brooklyn run at 1 1/2 miles here in June. Most recently, he finished third in the Alydar Stakes at Saratoga.

“I thought he ran very well in his last race at Saratoga,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “I think he’s versatile. He’s probably effective from a mile to a mile and a half. We are considering the Marathon, felt like we needed a race to get us there. We’ll see how this goes and see if he runs well enough to consider the marathon.”

Seven were entered in the I’m a Banker, but Norman Asbjornson will scratch after running in Saturday’s off-the-turf First Responder Stakes at Parx.

David Jacobson has entered the coupled entry of Don Dulce and Praetereo. Jacobson claimed Don Dulce for $100,000 in his last start. Praetereo finished sixth in the Kelso on Sept. 28 and second in the Duck Dance on Oct. 6.

Blingo, Farhaan, and Fast Falcon complete the field.