10/31/2005 12:00AM

Discovery: Magna Graduate prevails


Todd Pletcher entered eight horses in six Breeders' Cup races, but his only winner on the card came when Magna Graduate captured the Grade 3, $87,250 .

Pletcher took over Magna Graduate's training early this summer, and now has sent him out to win back-to-back graded stakes. He took the Pegasus Handicap on Sept. 30 at The Meadowlands, and was quite impressive winning the Discovery by three-quarters of a length over favored Scrappy T.

"He's really getting good right now," Pletcher said. "We're delighted with his last two races."

Magna Graduate once was a headstrong front-runner, but over time he has learned to settle, and relaxed nicely for jockey John Velazquez on Saturday. On paper, there was an overabundance of early speed in the 1 1/16-mile Discovery, but it was Scrappy T who wound up in the clear and on the lead, racing into the wind while setting fractions of 23.35 seconds for a quarter-mile and 46.83 for a half. Magna Graduate sat in mid-pack, going easily down the backstretch and gradually picking up the leaders around the turn while racing about two paths wide. When the field started to spread at the quarter pole, Velazquez sent Magna Graduate through on the inside, and he tackled Scrappy T with a full head of steam at the top of the stretch, taking over inside the final half-furlong to win going away.

By Honor Grades, and owned by Elisabeth Alexander of Ohio, Magna Graduate paid $13 to win and was timed in 1:41.35.