Updated on 12/08/2011 10:52AM

Discreet Dancer dazzles with track-record debut win


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The big news out of Gulfstream Park last weekend, aside from the early opening, was the performance of Discreet Dancer, a 2-year-old who set a track record when making his career debut Saturday.

Discreet Dancer, a homebred son of Discreet Cat, won at first asking by nearly 10 lengths against an overmatched field of Florida-breds for the E. Paul Robsham Stables LLC and trainer Todd Pletcher. Discreet Dancer’s final time of 1:02.34 for 5 1/2 furlongs shattered the track mark by three-fifths of a second and earned the promising youngster a 100 Beyer Speed Figure, which is just a point less than the best number turned in by any 2-year-old in 2011.

“We weren’t surprised that he ran well or that he won, but any time you have one set a track record the first time out, you have to be a little surprised,” Pletcher said. “Five and one half furlongs is an unusual distance, and we took an edge running him against Florida-breds. He’s certainly good enough to have beaten open maidens, but it was a pretty impressive effort, nonetheless.”

Pletcher said he’ll certainly look to stretch Discreet Dancer out further in his next start and sees no reason to believe, at this point, he won’t handle the extra distance.

“We’ll gradually bring him along,” Pletcher said. “He’ll go at least seven furlongs the next time. I’ve never seen anything in his training that indicates distance limitations. He finished up well Saturday and galloped out strong. Discreet Cat was best at a mile, and his half-brother Travelin Man is at his best going six and seven furlongs, but this colt acts a little different. He’s a little stronger version colt than Travelin Man and might stretch out further.”

Travelin Man won the Grade 2 Swale going seven furlongs here last winter.

Pletcher’s big weekend actually began Friday at Calder, where he won a pair of races, the Grade 3 Tropical Turf Handicap with Silver Medallion and a maiden special weight dash with another Robsham homebred, the 2-year-old filly Polish Tune.

“I thought Silver Medallion ran very well at Calder,” Pletcher said. “He settled nicely behind a somewhat slow pace and finished up strong. It seems like he’s gradually maturing and starting to settle a bit after being kind of green the first few times we ran him. The filly is a nice horse, but she’s not in the same area code as the colt [Discreet Dancer].”

Pletcher said Silver Medallion would likely return here Jan. 14 in the Grade 3 Fort Lauderdale.

Pletcher will not have his first stakes starter of the meet until sending out Countess Lemonade in Sunday’s South Beach, but said he was in favor of the early opening.

“I’m for whatever is best for horse racing as well as Gulfstream Park’s business,” Pletcher said. “ If purses turn out better because of the early opening, than I’m okay with it. We adjusted a little bit, sent some horses down and cranked up a little earlier than usual. This kind of makes our season go year round for sure, where December used to be a pretty quiet month for us.”

McGaughey enjoys big weekend

Like Pletcher, trainer Shug McGaughey also had himself a good weekend, sandwiching Casablanca Smile’s victory in Calder’s Grade 2 La Prevoyante and another impressive turf win by Data Link around his beloved Kentucky Wildcats’ exciting one-point decision over North Carolina on Saturday.

Casablanca Smile led throughout to win the 1 1/2-mile La Prevoyante, despite having been idle 11 months coming into the race.

“I thought after watching her work earlier in the week that she’d run well, I just wasn’t sure if she’d run out of trainer or not because of the layoff,” said McGaughey who was in Lexington to attend the Kentucky game on Saturday. “The good thing about her is that she can be on the lead like that. She’s kind of a one-pace horse, she’s not the type that has a big quarter-mile run in her.”

Data Link showed a nice turn of foot through the stretch to beat high-level optional claiming company Sunday, his third win in as many starts over the local turf course. The 3-year-old could make his 2012 debut in the Fort Lauderdale.