05/13/2007 11:00PM

Discreet Cat returning


ELMONT, N.Y. - Discreet Cat, who suffered his first career loss when he finished last in the Dubai World Cup in March, is expected to return to the United States by the weekend, assistant trainer Rick Mettee said Monday.

The winner of the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct last fall, Discreet Cat was scheduled to be flown here from Dubai along with the talented 3-year-old Day Pass, who won the Grade 3 Nashua at Aqueduct last October before being sent to Dubai, where he ran poorly in two stakes.

Discreet Cat will have to spend a couple of days at the quarantine facility in Newburgh, N.Y., before vanning down to Belmont, presumably on Saturday. Discreet Cat was diagnosed with a throat abscess after his last-place finish behind Invasor in the Dubai World Cup.

Mettee said Discreet Cat is in light training overseas and that the earliest he would most likely return to the races would be at Saratoga, a track over which he won a maiden race at 2 and an allowance race at 3.

"We'll get a pretty good gauge on him when we get him up there," Mettee said. "That's an easier track to get an idea where he is at than [Belmont] or Aqueduct. I'm not going to get in any big rush with him."

The way things are going so far this spring for Godolphin, there is no need to rush Discreet Cat back. Godolphin is 3 for 4 at the Belmont meet, with stakes victories by Utopia in the Westchester and Songster in Saturday's Bold Ruler. Council Member won a third-level allowance race Friday.

Songster, a multiple graded stakes winner at 3 for Darley, made a smashing return to the races, running the six furlongs of the Bold Ruler in 1:08.80 and earning a 109 Beyer Speed Figure. Mettee said Songster would be pointed to the Grade 2 Tom Fool at Belmont on July 4.

Utopia is being pointed to the Gradeo1 Metropolitan Handicap on May 28, while Council Member, who earned a Beyer of 94 in his 3 1/2-length allowance win, is being pointed to the True North Handicap on June 9.

Brothers prep for upcoming stakes

Half-brothers Corinthian and Vitruvius both worked at Belmont on Monday toward upcoming stakes engagements.

Corinthian, a 4-year-old son of Pulpit who is headed to the Met Mile, went six furlongs in 1:13.07 on the main track, while Vitruvius, a 3-year-old son of E Dubai, went the same distance in 1:13.15 over the training track. Both colts are out of the dam Multiply.

Corinthian is coming off a fifth-place finish as the favorite in the Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap on April 10, a race in which he leapt in the air at the break. Prior to that, he won his first two races this year at Gulfstream, including the Gulfstream Park Handicap.

Of Monday's work, Jerkens said, "He went a little too slow early, but he finished fast. Maybe we'll work him in company next week."

Because Corinthian is a lightly framed horse, Jerkens believes the seven weeks between races will be beneficial to the horse.

"If he's ever going to do good in a race like that, it'll be off a little freshening," Jerkens said.

Meanwhile, Vitruvius will make his stakes debut in Sunday's Grade 2 Peter Pan, a one-turn race at 1o1/8 miles. Vitruvius is 2 for 2 with a maiden win at Gulfstream and a first-level allowance score at Aqueduct.

"He's doing as good as you could hope," Jerkens said.

Among those Vitruvius will face in the Peter Pan is Sightseeing, who on Monday worked five furlongs in 59.63 seconds over the main track, the fastest of 35 drills at the distance.

Steppenwolfer returns to turf

The last time Steppenwolfer raced in New York, he finished fourth in the 2006 Belmont Stakes. Wednesday, when he returns to Belmont, he will be running in a third-level allowance race on the turf.

Trainer Danny Peitz is hoping the turf helps resurrect Steppenwolfer, who seemed listless in two dirt starts at Oaklawn Park this winter. Steppenwolfer, who finished third in the 2006 Kentucky Derby, made his career debut on the turf in September 2005, finishing fifth in a six-furlong race under Jose Santos.

"It was sneaky good," Peitz said. "He didn't do any running till the last eighth of a mile. It was the gallop out that was so impressive. Santos came back and said he just needs to run farther."

Following his fourth in the Belmont, Peitz had planned to run Steppenwolfer in the Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs, but he had to scratch the horse from that race when he got sick. Steppenwolfer was off the rest of the year.

Wednesday's race is no easy spot. Among his rivals are Gimme Credit, a New York-bred who went 4 for 7 on the turf, including an open company stakes win at Saratoga; Rock Lobster, who won the Grade 3 Saranac at Saratoga last September; and Forward Move, a second-level allowance winner at Gulfstream in March.

Any Given Saturday bruises foot

Any Given Saturday came out of his eighth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby with a bruised foot, trainer Todd Pletcher said. Pletcher said the bruise was detected May 8.

"We had to pull a shoe off of him," Pletcher said. "It's improving, but he has not gone back to the track since then."

Any Given Saturday won the Sam F. Davis before getting beat by a nose by Street Sense in the Tampa Bay Derby. He ran third in the Wood Memorial prior to the Kentucky Derby.

Pletcher is mulling a possible Preakness start for Kentucky Derby sixth-place finisher Circular Quay, who worked four furlongs in 48.44 seconds Monday. Scat Daddy, who finished 18th in the Derby, is being pointed to the Dwyer Stakes on Julyo4, while Cowtown Cat, last in the Derby, could run next in the Ohio Derby at Thistledown on June 2.

Meanwhile, Pletcher is planning an all-out assault on the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 16. Among those he is planning to run are Magna Graduate, Master Command, and possibly A.P. Arrow. Magna Graduate worked five furlongs in 1:00.13 on Monday in company with Harlington; A.P. Arrow worked four furlongs in 48.43 in company with Circular Quay; while Master Command worked an easy half-mile in 52.43 by himself.

Jose Espinoza fractures ankle

Jockey Jose Espinoza is expected to miss four months of action after fracturing his right ankle in three places in a spill during Sunday's fourth race at Belmont.

Espinoza was aboard A Million Dreams when that filly's stablemate, Gold D Cat, bumped hard into her entering the first turn of the 1 1/8-mile turf race. Espinoza appeared to get his right ankle caught in the stirrup before being unseated. He was taken to North Shore University Hospital, where his ankle was set and placed in a cast.

Agent Richard Destasio said Espinoza was released from North Shore on Monday and was expected to meet with an orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan to decide when surgery will be done.

Espinoza, a native of Hidalgo, Mexico, had won 14 races from 200 mounts this year, including the Stymie Handicap aboard Evening Attire in March. Espinoza is the older brother of Victor Espinoza, who rides in Southern California.