Will Weight Concession Help Discreet Dancer?

Todd Pletcher will gladly accept a nine-pound concession from 124-pound highweight Fort Larned on Discreet Dancer’s behalf, but Gulfstream Park’s nine-time defending champion trainer isn’t quite sure how the weight assignments might affect the outcome of Saturday’s $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2).

“It’s hard to quantify those things. It’s a substantial concession that we’re getting, but by the same token, we’re running a lightly raced horse against a Breeders’ Cup Classic winner,” said Pletcher following training hours Wednesday morning at Palm Meadows Training Center.

Fort Larned, who will make his 2013 debut in the Gulfstream Park Handicap, captured five stakes, including the Skip Away (G3) at Gulfstream, the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga and the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita. Discreet Dancer has run only four times, winning three and finishing a distant third in last year’s Fountain of Youth (G2).

Discreet Dancer, who won his first two starts last season by open lengths, was away from the races following the Fountain of Youth for 11 months when he captured a six-furlong, second-level allowance at Gulfstream by a neck on Feb. 6.

“Considering the length of the layoff and we were meeting some seasoned horses, I thought he showed a lot of determination and substantiated his form as a 3-year-old,” Pletcher said. “We were really, really pleased with his effort.”

In his comeback race, the son of Discreet Cat chased the early pace and just got up to score after a long stretch drive.

“I think the mile will suit him well. I felt like in the race at six (furlongs) we had to rush him a little more than he really wanted to be, so I would think stretching out would help,” Pletcher said. “But we’re also stretching out into a pretty tough race.”

The E. Paul Robsham Stables’ homebred 4-year-old will be seeking his first stakes success in five starts, all at Gulfstream, in the one-turn mile stakes for 4-year-olds and up.

“I think this race will tell us a lot about where we are in terms of quality and the distance he wants to run,” Pletcher said. “But he’s always trained like a graded-stakes horse for us. Hopefully, bigger things will come, but I’m not 100 percent sure what distance it’ll end up being.”

Discreet Dancer generated high expectations in his very first start when he won by nearly 10 lengths, running the 5½ furlongs in the track-record time of 1:02.34.

“Watching him train, we felt he was one who would run well in his first start. He did and set a track record. He came back and won impressively the second time,” Pletcher said. “I didn’t know watching him train before he started that he’d end up being favored in the Fountain of Youth with a horse like Union Rags in there. He came out of that with an issue that required some time off, and here we are again.”



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Older Comments about Will Weight Concession Help Discreet Dancer?...

Depending on the odds...think Discreet Dancer has a solid shot. The distance of a mile is ideal.

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