Sweet N Discreet ventured into unknown territory for her last start when asked to stretch her obvious speed around two turns for the first time at 1 ⅛ miles, a rather imposing distance for a horse with one-turn breeding.
The 4-year-old daughter of Discreet Cat, who finished second after setting the pace in the one-mile Ocala Stakes Dec. 29, performed beyond the expectations of even her trainer when she rated off the pace and closed with energy to capture the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff by 1 ½ lengths.
"She surprised us a bit to run as well as she did," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "As well as she ran at a mile, I wasn't so sure about a mile and an eighth, but it seemed like a good place to test it out."
The E.P. Robsham Stables homebred filly is one of two Pletcher trainees entered for the $200,000 Sabin Stakes Feb. 16 at Gulfstream Park. The race for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles drew a field of eight and will go as the 10th on the Sunday program with a 5:03 p.m. EST scheduled post.
Sweet N Discreet has blossomed since arriving at Gulfstream last fall, winning back-to-back six-furlong allowance races before finishing second behind Devil's Cave in her stakes debut in the Ocala.
"We liked her a lot at 2. Then, she got some shins and it's taken a little while for her to get it all together," Pletcher said. "She's good right now."
The 10-time defending training champion also entered Private Ensign, a 4-year-old daughter of A.P. Indy who captured an allowance at Gulfstream Jan. 15 off an eight-month layoff. The Siena Farms homebred filly won twice and finished third in the Davona Dale at Gulfstream last year when trained by Dale Romans.
Devil's Cave has been no worse than second in four starts since being switched from turf racing to dirt. In the Ocala, the 4-year-old daughter of Put It Back pressed a very fast pace before drawing off to a two-length decision over Sweet N Discreet going a one-turn mile. In the Sunshine Millions Distaff, she set a slow early pace before being caught by Sweet in Discreet in the upper stretch. She came back in deep stretch but fell more than a length short of victory.
"She should have beaten her going a mile and an eighth," trainer Marty Wolfson said. "The jockey took way too much a hold."
The free-running Devil's Cave, who is owned by the Alpha Delta Stable, is to be one of three horses saddled by Wolfson, who also entered Gamay Noir and supplemental choice Kipling's Joy.
Gamay Noir was claimed by Chasing Tail Stables for $100,000 out of a turf race at Gulfstream Jan. 14 and finished third in a dirt allowance in her first start for Wolfson. Kipling's Joy made her first start since being purchased by Miller Racing a winning one, taking an optional claiming allowance over the Gulfstream turf course Jan. 25.
Rose to Gold, a multiple graded-stakes winner trained by Sal Santoro, was also supplemented for the Sabin by owners Kathleen Amaya and Raffaele Centofanti. The 4-year-old filly, who made her 2014 debut on turf in the Marshua's River at Gulfstream, returned to winning form last time out, winning the $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park Jan. 25.