03/27/2006 12:00AM

Kentucky Derby drama

Discreet Cat ran right into the Kentucky Derby picture with his victory in Saturday's UAE Derby.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - A six-length win by Discreet Cat in Saturday's $2 million UAE Derby has heightened interest in whether the colt will start in the Kentucky Derby on May 6, but a decision will not be made for a few weeks, according to Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford.

Crisford said that the options include starting in the Kentucky Derby, with a possible prep in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 15, or waiting for the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 20.

After Discreet Cat won his stakes debut in the UAE Derby at Nad Al Sheba, Crisford stopped short of committing to the Kentucky Derby.

"We'll see how he is in the next few days and Sheikh Mohammed will make a decision," Crisford said. "This was the horse's first proper test."

Last week, Crisford cast doubt on whether Discreet Cat, a Forestry colt, would be able to handle the 1 1/4-mile distance of the Kentucky Derby or whether he had enough experience after two starts.

"The horse had to do this himself," he said. "We knew he had loads of talent, but he's still quite immature. The Kentucky Derby is a tough race. It depends on how he's doing and how he's training. He has to go forward."

Discreet Cat earned the respect of American trainer Todd Pletcher, whose stable is loaded with Kentucky Derby hopefuls.

"What impressed me was he looks like he's kind and rates well, and that should help him stretch out," Pletcher said.

The Maktoum family's Godolphin racing operation is winless with five Kentucky Derby starters. Godolphin has not had a Kentucky Derby starter since 2003.

Discreet Cat's victory did not stop English bookmakers from going overboard with enthusiasm. One outfit made Discreet Cat the 5-1 favorite for the Kentucky Derby, a price very close to what he could be at post time - if he shows up.

Meanwhile, Godolphin's Electrocutionist won his first major race on dirt in Saturday's $6 million Dubai World Cup at Nad Al Sheba, but that doesn't mean he no longer will race on turf.

With a background of success on turf at distances longer than the 1 1/4 miles of the Dubai World Cup, Electrocutionist could race on either surface in coming months.

His versatility was evident when English bookmakers listed him as a 6-1 chance for the Breeders' Cup Classic on dirt and an 8-1 chance for the Breeders' Cup Turf.

Before Saturday's race, Electrocutionist had one victory on dirt, a seven-length win in the Group 2 Maktoum Challenge third round at Nad Al Sheba on March 2. Last year, he won two Grade 1 races - the Gran Premio di Milano in Italy and the Juddmonte International in England.

Interestingly, Electrocutionist's most disappointing race came in North America last fall, when he finished fourth as the 6-5 favorite in the Canadian International at Woodbine.