10/14/2013 5:02PM

Belmont Park: Discreet Marq keeps top form in winning Pebbles Stakes

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Discreet Marq takes the Pebbles, the Columbus Day feature at Belmont, under Irad Ortiz Jr.

ELMONT, N.Y. -- The 10 trainers who entered New York-bred fillies and mares in Saturday’s $200,000 Ticonderoga Stakes at Belmont Park can be thankful that trainer Christophe Clement didn’t enter his.

Instead, Clement opted for Monday’s $200,000 Pebbles Stakes with his New York-bred 3-year-old filly Discreet Marq who outfinished Tapicat to win the listed Pebbles by three-quarters of a length at Belmont. It was 2 3/4 lengths back to Teen Pauline in third.

The win was the fourth from seven races this year and sixth from 12 lifetime starts for Discreet Marq, a daughter of Discreet Cat owned and bred by Patricia Generazio.

Clement said he opted for the Pebbles because he preferred to run the filly a mile -- the Ticonderoga is 1 1/16 miles -- with the idea of running her back in the Grade 1 Matriarch at Betfair Hollywood Park on Dec. 1.

Clement also thought there would be more pace in a one-mile race, and he wanted his filly to rate.

Discreet Marq did rate under Irad Ortiz Jr., but the pace was far from swift. Mariel N Kathy set fractions of 23.82 seconds for the quarter and 47.17 for the opening half-mile while being pursued by Tapicat with Discreet Marq and Teen Pauline in the next flight.

Around the far turn, Ortiz followed Mike Smith aboard Tapicat, who took the lead approaching the quarter pole. When Discreet Marq crept alongside Tapicat in upper stretch the latter spurted away, but Discreet Marq gradually wore her down.

“She relaxed pretty good for me today,” Ortiz said. “When I got out in the clear she picked it up. I got a lot of horse, so I go little by little. I asked her a little bit, she put me there. I just wait for the stretch like the trainer told me and when she switched leads she picked it up.”

Discreet Marq covered the mile over firm turf in 1:34.19 and returned $5 as the 3-2 favorite.

“I’ve been lucky, I trained major [turf] fillies the last 10 to 15 years,” Clement said. “She would compare to any of them.”

Blingo upsets I’m a Banker

Blingo, with only one race in 14 months, pulled a 19-1 surprise Monday at Belmont Park, rallying four wide in the stretch under Alex Solis to win the $100,000 I’m a Banker Stakes by one-half length over Don Dulce.

The win was the third from nine starts for Blingo, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Jerry and Ann Moss and trained by John Shirreffs.

The win was the first for Blingo on dirt, his previous two victories coming at Betfair Hollywood Park over the synthetic surface at 2 and the La Puenta Stakes on turf at 3.

“He trained well on the dirt. The opportunity came up for him to run so we just did it. It wasn’t any big plan,” Shirreffs said. “Blingo is very, very talented. He can run dirt, turf any distance. He’s a really versatile horse.”

Blingo was off from August 2012 until July because he was difficult to train. Shirreffs noted that that when Blingo ran at Belmont in July, he was unruly in the paddock.

“From then on we had to take a few months to settle him down and find out what was going to work,” Shirreffs said. “Today he was pretty good.”

Blingo covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.57 and returned $41.60.

Shirreffs said that Blingo would return to California when Shirreffs sends some of his New York string back west. It was the third win from 37 starters for Shirreffs since he moved a string here in April.