NEW ORLEANS -- They might as well have put up the finish line a quarter-mile into the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes. There, it was Discreetly Mine over Tempted to Tapit over Northern Giant -- same as the actual end of the $300,000 race, where Discreetly Mine came home a 1 1/2-length winner.
The top end of the Risen Star running order never changed thanks to a surprisingly pokey pace. Quick-footed Tempted to Tapit broke flat-footed, and Northern Giant, another potential pace player, seemed content to sit third. That left Discreetly Mine out by his lonesome through splits of 24.60 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 48.75 to the half - very slow on a fast-playing main track. By comparison, the half-mile pace in the Silverbulletday Stakes was 47.50 seconds.
"On paper, it looked like there was a lot more speed," said winning rider Javier Castellano. "It was very easy for him."
Discreetly Mine gave trainer Todd Pletcher two 3-year-old stakes wins in a matter of minutes: Eskendereya had won the Fountain of Youth Stakes shortly before the Risen Star.
Discreetly Mine ($7) won for just the second time in seven starts, but had finished second in a pair of graded stakes in New York last year at 2. A son of Mineshaft with a route-oriented pedigree, Discreetly Mine was a troubled fourth in the six-furlong Spectacular Bid Stakes in his first start this year, and was making his first start around two turns.
"He wasn't tired at all," Castellano said.
Tempted to Tapit stayed on decently for second, a neck in front of 53-1 shot Northern Giant. Drosselmeyer, the 2-1 favorite raced in sixth-place early, and finished along the rail for fourth. Stay Put, last of 12 early, closed well on the outside for fifth, and Lecomte Stakes winner Ron the Greek, another deep closer, came from 11th to get sixth.
"My horse is a big deep closer," said Ron the Greek's jockey, James Graham. "He finished, but they were finishing, too."
The Risen Star six-furlong split was 1:13.44, the final time for 1 1/16 miles 1:44.88, almost a second faster than the Silverbulletday.
"The first four really quickened home from the quarter pole," said Drosselmeyer's jockey, Kent Desormeaux.
Pletcher, who won the Fair Grounds Handicap with Blues Street earlier on the card, said Discreetly Mine would "most likely" ship back to New Orleans for the Louisiana Derby on March 27.