Saeed Bin Suroor refused to jump to conclusions following Discreet Cat’s disappointing third in the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Monmouth Park last night.
The American-based Godolphin horse, who had come back from a well-documented throat abscess following his Dubai World Cup flop in March, had to settle for a distant third in driving rain and on a sloppy main course as the Jimmy Jerkens-trained Corinthian powered to an impressive six-and-a-half length success.
Garrett Gomez had the favourite sat handily in third but the writing was on the wall coming off the home bend as the eventual winner travelled supremely well, opening up a yawning gap under Kent Desormeaux back to long-time leader Gottcha Gold in second.
Bin Suroor said: I don’t like to make excuses. There’s nothing we can tell right now.
“Maybe it was the ground, or maybe it was his throat. We’re headed back to the barn now.”
Gomez added: “We know (his talent) is still there. We don’t know exactly what the problem is.
“He’s travelling well and feels good underneath me, but there’s something missing, and we’re going to try and find it.”
Winning jockey Desormeaux said: “Fifty yards out of the gate, I was nine abreast. I said ’this is ridiculous’ and I just pulled him up and ended up inside of the whole field down on the fence.
“It turned out to be the perfect position to keep his face clean. This colt is a fireball. He just dragged me down the stretch.”
Jerkens compared Corinthian’s victory to winning the 2005 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Belmont with Artie Schiller.
“Really terrific,” he said. “He’s been training great, but his last two races were below par, so it was hard to get overly confident.
“Kent rode him beautifully. That was the plan, to try to tuck him in. He doesn’t mind running on the inside. He might as well save the ground when he can.
“This ranks right up there with Artie Schiller.”
Johnny Murtagh was just denied on Achill Island in the Juvenile Turf.
The in-form rider looked to have timed his run to perfection from the rear on the Aidan O’Brien-trained colt and hit the front 100 yards from home on officially yielding ground.
But Nownownow, who started his run from behind Murtagh, finished to even greater effect and won the day.
Cannonball snatched third from Frankie Dettori on Jeremy Noseda’s Strike The Deal.
O’Brien said: “He ran a stormer. We’re delighted.
“He came to win his race and just got nabbed on the line. That’s his race. He likes to come from behind.
“He doesn’t like the ground that way, so he ran a huge race. He’ll be a lovely horse next year.”
Dettori said Strike the Deal struggled with the tight oval of the turf course.
He said: “He couldn’t handle the turns. He’s never run around turns before. We lost momentum on the turns, but he ran great on the straight, and we were lucky enough to get fourth. It was a good effort for a horse that had never raced on turns.”
Nownownow is trained by Francois Parisel in the absence of the soon-to-be-suspended Patrick Biancone, who will start a one-year ban on November 1 following the discovery of a banned substance at his Keeneland barns in June.
Winning jockey Julien Leparoux was making up for his earlier disappointment on La Traviata in the Filly And Mare Sprint – which went the way of Maryfield – as Nownownow won for the second time in six starts this year.