07/05/2006 11:00PM

Discreet Cat to miss Travers


ELMONT, N.Y. - Discreet Cat has recently resumed training following an illness that forced him to miss Tuesday's Dwyer Stakes, but Godolphin Racing's undefeated 3-year-old won't be ready to run in the $1 million Travers Stakes next month at Saratoga, his connections said Thursday.

Rick Mettee, who oversees Godolphin's New York string, said Discreet Cat has been back to the track for less than a week, but that the cough that forced him to miss the Dwyer "messed up" his summer schedule.

Mettee said he would look to get Discreet Cat back to the races "sometime at the end of August," but basically ruled out the Travers, run at 1 1/4 miles on Aug. 26.

"You'd almost have to train up to it; I'd doubt we'd do that," Mettee said. "He had a pretty good cough and a temperature for a few days. We had to ride it out."

Discreet Cat won his debut at Saratoga last summer for trainer Stanley Hough and was purchased by Godolphin Racing shortly thereafter. He ran twice during the winter in Dubai, winning a one-mile allowance on March 9 by four lengths and the United Arab Emirates Derby at 1 1/8 miles by six lengths on March 25.

Owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum didn't believe the horse was seasoned enough to run in the Kentucky Derby, and instead pointed to a summer campaign that he hoped would include the Travers.

Discreet Cat arrived in New York in April and worked three times at Belmont, including a five-furlong move in 1:01.80 on June 12.

In looking to the fall, Mettee mentioned the $150,000 Brooklyn Breeders' Cup Handicap for 3-year-olds and up on Sept. 16 as a possible target. Belmont also runs the $150,000 Jerome, restricted to 3-year-olds, on Oct. 1. Both are Grade 2 events.

Mettee said an illness also forced him to keep Etesaal out of last weekend's Poker and next weekend's Bowling Green handicaps.

Afrashad may go to Vanderbilt

Aside from illnesses to those two horses, Godolphin has enjoyed a productive summer, winning four races at Belmont and another at Monmouth Park.

Afrashad has emerged as a potential force in the sprint division with two impressive allowance wins. A 4-year-old son of Smoke Glacken, Afrashad won a first-level allowance race in New York on Belmont Stakes Day, running six furlongs in 1:08.38 and earning a 107 Beyer Speed Figure. On Tuesday, he won a second-level allowance race at Monmouth, running six furlongs in 1:09.01 and earning a 106 Beyer.

A horse with physical problems in his youth, Afrashad has remained relatively sound since the beginning of the year, Mettee said. He may make his next start in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 12.

"We'd probably nominate to the Vanderbilt, but I wouldn't hesitate to try him on the grass at least once," Mettee said. "It depends how tough a race the Vanderbilt would come up."

Mettee said that Ashkal Way, who has won two turf allowance races at Belmont this summer, would be pointed to the $150,000 Fourstardave at Saratoga on Aug. 6.

Capote's Crown loves New York

After watching Capote's Crown run two disappointing races in allowance company at Gulfstream Park, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin wouldn't have been surprised if owner Ken Luke of Eldon Farm wanted to stop on her.

As a half-sister to graded stakes winners Smoke Glacken and Smokey Glacken, and having already been graded stakes placed as a 2-year-old, Capote's Crown had some value as a broodmare prospect.

McLaughlin remembers telling Luke, "I wouldn't fight you if you want to retire her."

McLaughlin added, "I didn't want to keep running her and depreciating her value."

But Luke made the decision to keep going, and now Capote's Crown is the possible favorite for Saturday's Grade 1 Prioress. She enters the race off two sharp efforts, including a perfect-trip victory in the Queen of Song Stakes on June 9.

McLaughlin deduced that Capote's Crown just didn't like Florida. Once he shipped her up to New York, she just started doing better physically.

Capote's Crown is 3 for 4 at Belmont with a second-place finish in the Grade 3 Tempted Stakes.

McLaughlin may have to make a late jockey change on Capote's Crown. He named Kent Desormeaux, but Desormeaux is committed to ride Relaxed Gesture in the United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park, and the New Jersey budget crisis has been resolved in time to save Saturday's card there. If Desormeaux doesn't ride Capote's Crown, Jose Santos is likely to pick up the mount.

Hello Liberty to Test Stakes

Hello Liberty, who won the Grade 2 Nassau County here in May and was beaten a neck in the Grade 1 Acorn in June, will make her next start in the Grade 1 Test Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 5, trainer Larry Jones said.

Like the Nassau County, the Test is run at seven furlongs. The Acorn was a mile, and it appeared as though Hello Liberty was going to win after she passed Bushfire in midstretch. But Bushfire battled back to get the win. Bushfire then came back to win the Mother Goose.

"We just felt the Acorn was as far as she wanted to run, maybe a little farther than she wants to run," Jones said.

Jones could have run Hello Liberty in Saturday's Grade 1 Prioress, but is running Wildcat Bettie B in that spot instead.

'Charm' could be grand for Kimmel

Trainer John Kimmel's next victory will be the 1,000th of his career. Classy Charm could very well give it to him when she runs in Saturday's $65,000 Missy's Mirage Stakes at Belmont.

The Missy's Mirage is contested as a one-turn mile race, and Classy Charm has already won two overnight stakes going a one-turn mile at Belmont. That includes a four-length victory over Alabama winner Sweet Symphony in the Wild Ride last month.

"She likes the one-turn mile, but she ran okay around two turns, too," Kimmel said. "I just think the filly is kind of maturing. She's doing well and has been pretty consistent aside from one bad race at Keeneland. That track was drying out, and she said no thank you."

Kimmel said that if Classy Charm runs well in the Missy's Mirage he would consider running her back in the Go for Wand Stakes at Saratoga on July 30.

The Missy's Mirage did not come up an easy spot. Bohemian Lady makes her first start since recording back-to-back wins in the Affectionately and Rare Treat handicaps over Aqueduct's inner track. Yolanda B. Too and Notre Dame come in off solid allowance wins over this surface.