08/28/2010 6:29PM

Discreetly Mine leads start to finish in King’s Bishop

Barbara D. Livingston
Discreetly Mine, with John Velazquez riding, wins the King's Bishop with a front-running change in tactics.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Saturday’s $250,000 King’s Bishop Stakes may not have gone exactly as Todd Pletcher would have envisioned it earlier in the day. But the end result was just what the meet’s leading trainer was looking for after Discreetly Mine led throughout to post a 1 1/4-length decision over a game Bank Merger in the Grade 1 dash for 3-year-olds.

Discreetly Mine had used stalking tactics to win his last two starts, and that was the same type of trip Pletcher was expecting again in the seven-furlong King’s Bishop. But after it became readily apparent the main track was speed-biased through the afternoon, Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez opted to alter Discreetly Mine’s usual running style and put the versatile colt right on the lead if possible. That strategy ultimately paid big dividends.

Breaking alertly, Discreetly Mine was able to outrun the speedy Bulldogger to the lead from the inside, setting a lively pace of 21.90 and 44.11 seconds in the process. Discreetly Mine shook off his early pursuer entering the stretch but then had to fend off serious challenges from Bank Merger and Latigo Shore before ultimately edging clear at the end.

Bank Merger, who entered the race undefeated in two previous starts, rallied four wide off the final turn and continued resolutely to finish second. Latigo Shore was another two lengths further back in third after coming widest into the stretch.

D’ Funnybone, the last horse to defeat Discreetly Mine, in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens, stopped badly and was eased to the finish.

Discreetly Mine completed seven furlongs in 1:23.16, his final time 58 of a second slower than Rightly So covered the same distance winning the Victory Ride one hour earlier. He paid $4.10 as the even-money favorite.

“We felt we were a little handcuffed the way the track was playing and by the fact we were breaking inside a fast horse like Bulldogger,” said Pletcher, who trains Discreetly Mine for the E Paul Robsham Stables LLC. “The fractions were pretty demanding, and I was just happy he was able to hold on.”

Velazquez said his instructions were to seize control of the race right out of the gate if possible.

“Todd said if he breaks well enough to just let him do it and go to the lead, and we were able to do just that,” said Velazquez, who notched his 10th stakes and seventh graded stakes win of the meet.