Photo: Eclipse Sportswire/Bob Mayberger
Sweeping three-wide to challenge for the lead at the top of the stretch, favored Discreet Marq outkicked a game Tapicat to the wire to win the 21st running of the $200,000 Pebbles, the Columbus Day feature at Belmont Park.
The victory was the fourth in five starts, all in stakes, for the New York-bred daughter of Discreet Cat since she was transferred to the barn of trainer Christophe Clement earlier this year. Victorious in the Grade 2 Sands Point, the Eventail overnight stakes, and the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks, Discreet Marq's only loss since May came when second in the Grade 1, 1 1/8-mile Garden City last time out.
Shortened up to a mile for the Pebbles, Discreet Marq was rank early but quickly settled in fourth behind long shot Mariel N Kathy, who was tracked by Tapicat as she took the field of seven 3-year-old turf fillies through an opening half mile in 47.17 seconds. Given her cue by jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. on the turn, Discreet Marq ranged up to challenge Tapicat and the pair straightened for home with Tapicat holding a narrow lead along the inside. Battling to the eighth pole, Discreet Marq began edging away and crossed the finish line three-quarters of a length in front.
"I raised my hands a little bit because she [fought] a little with the mouth [at first]," said Ortiz. "She relaxed very good for me today. I got a lot of filly, I got a lot of horse, so I went little by little [after Tapicat]. I asked her a little bit, and she gave me what she had."
Discreet Marq's winning time was 1:34.19.
"She's a very nice filly who belongs to great people," said Clement, who trains Discreet Marq for her owner and breeder, Patricia Generazio. "I'm delighted for them. I've always though she was a top--class miler. We've been stretching her all year long but she's good, and she overcame me, which is wonderful."
The 3-2 favorite, Discreet Marq returned $5.00 for a $2 win bet and earned $120,000. Overall she is 6-2-2 from 12 starts and has amassed $705,900.
Teen Pauline checked in third, 2 ¾ lengths behind Tapicat. Following her under the wire were Frege, Dauphine Russe, With Sugar On Top, and Mariel N Kathy. Summer of Fun was scratched, as were main track only entrants Flash Forward, Galloping Giraffe, and Toasting.