Updated on 09/18/2011 12:47AM

Discreet Cat will pass on Derby run

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Discreet Cat, winner of the UAE Derby, will come to the United States, but not for the Triple Crown

Godolphin Racing announced on Tuesday that undefeated Discreet Cat, the winner of the United Arab Emirates Derby, would not run in the May 6 Kentucky Derby, removing from the field the colt with the most graded-stakes earnings and enhancing the chances of those horses on the earnings bubble.

As of Tuesday, more than 20 3-year-olds were still pointing for the Derby. If more than 20 enter the Derby on May 3, the field will be determined strictly by .

Discreet Cat earned $1.2 million for his six-length victory last month in the UAE Derby. It was his second victory this year and third overall. Godolphin purchased Discreet Cat last summer, following a runaway victory at Saratoga for trainer Stan Hough, seemingly to point for the Derby, a race that Godolphin principal Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, had once made a top priority.

On Tuesday, though, Godolphin's website reported that while Discreet Cat would be sent to the United States, he would head to Belmont Park and point for major races in the second half of the year.

"Discreet Cat is a really promising young horse, but after assessing the situation, Sheikh Mohammed has decided that he would prefer to give him more time," Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, was quoted as saying on the Godolphin website. "We see him as an important horse for Godolphin both later this season and next year. He won't actually be 3 until May, so we want to give him time to develop. Although we have no specific targets in mind for him at the moment, Discreet Cat will not be running in any of the Triple Crown races."

Discreet Cat was 9-1 in Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, behind only Brother Derek (5-1) and Lawyer Ron (8-1). He was in the mutuel field in pools 1 and 2.

After having runners in the Derby from 1999 through 2002, this will be the fourth straight Derby in which Godolphin does not have a representative. In 2002, War Emblem made Prince Ahmed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia the first Arab to own a Derby winner.

The defection of Discreet Cat aids a potential Derby starter such as Like Now, who moves to 20th on the graded-stakes earnings list of Derby contenders. He is scheduled to run in the Grade 2, $325,000 Lexington Stakes on Saturday at Keeneland.

Discreet Cat's absence also could help several horses currently outside the top 20. Sunriver, for instance, is 24th on the list with $100,000 in graded earnings, but there are several horses above him - such as Mister Triester and Superfly - who are very doubtful to run in the Derby. Sunriver could have increased his bankroll by running in the Lexington, but trainer Todd Pletcher decided on Monday night, before the announcement on Discreet Cat, to bypass the Lexington and hope he could get into the Derby anyway.

"We're just going to train up to it and hope we get in," Pletcher said. "We feel like we've had a game plan all along, that he does best with four or five weeks between races, and to run in the Lexington, over a track that might not favor his style as much as, say, Churchill Downs, might compromise his chances, not only in the Lexington but then trying to run him back two weeks later in the Derby."

There are several horses expected to run in the Lexington who could leapfrog past Sunriver, most notably the likely Lexington favorite, Showing Up, who has no graded-stakes earnings.

In other Derby developments Tuesday:

* Showing Up breezed five furlongs in 1:02.42 at Belmont Park for trainer Barclay Tagg and then left by van for Kentucky.

* Hemingway's Key, also expected to run in the Lexington, breezed a half-mile at Keeneland in 50 seconds for trainer Nick Zito.

* Bob and John, the Wood Memorial winner, and Point Determined, who was second in the Santa Anita Derby, both worked five furlongs in 59.20 seconds at Santa Anita for trainer Bob Baffert. Both are expected to work once more at Santa Anita before leaving for Kentucky.

* Trainer Doug O'Neill said that Sam's Ace would point for a California-bred stakes race at Hollywood Park on April 29 and was no longer under consideration for the Derby. Sam's Ace was fourth in the Florida Derby.