09/28/2006 11:00PM

Spotlight on Discreet Cat in Jerome


ELMONT, N.Y. - For Discreet Cat, the hardest part of Sunday's Grade 2 Jerome Handicap may have been getting the entry box to close. Surprisingly, five other 3-year-olds were entered against him in the $150,000 Jerome, contested at a one-turn mile at Belmont Park.

A week ago, not that many seemed eager to take on Discreet Cat, who is 4 for 4, including an eye-catching 11-length romp in a third-level allowance race on Aug. 25 at Saratoga. That was Discreet Cat's first start in five months, or since he won the United Arab Emirates Derby by six lengths over a field that included Invasor.

Prior to Discreet Cat's last race, Rick Mettee, the assistant trainer for Godolphin Racing, said the horse was two works short of being at his best. With that performance and three additional workouts under his belt, Discreet Cat should be more than ready to handle this assignment even if the track comes up wet from forecasted showers.

"I think the bar has been set higher," Mettee said. "I don't know whether he is going to be as visually impressive in this race as he was in that race. Certainly all eyes are going to be on him - they were on him at Saratoga - but they're especially going to be on him off that performance."

As the 124-pound highweight, Discreet Cat, a son of Forestry, will spot 9 to 12 pound to his five rivals. However, there appears to be ample pace in the race with Noonmark, Valid Notebook, and Nar in the field.

"I would think Noonmark being fresh is going to run a pretty good race, and Valid Notebook is a pretty sharp horse," Mettee said. "I would think there would be some pretty good pace. Going a one-turn mile you'd think he'd pull a pretty good trip in a small field."

Nar, owned by Four Roses Thoroughbreds, makes his second start off a layoff for trainer Nick Zito. In his most recent effort, Nar finished second to runaway winner High Finance in a second-level allowance race.

"Discreet Cat was just magnificent the other day," Zito said. "I just play the game. A lot of times we got rewarded, sometimes we don't. I got a quality horse. When you look at Discreet Cat, you're looking at something special."

Valid Notebook comes off a sharp second-level allowance win going a one-turn mile here on Sept. 9. Noonmark has run his best races at Belmont. Quietly Go, sixth in the King's Bishop, is also entered in an allowance race here Saturday. Spring at Last will be a rare longshot for trainer Todd Pletcher.