Disco Partner scintillating off the bench in Elusive Quality Stakes

Saturday, April 29th, 2017
NYRA/Viola Jasko

NYRA/Viola Jasko

By Sarah Mace

Despite a laundry list of challenges in Saturday’s seven-furlong, $100,000 Elusive Quality on the Widener turf course at Belmont Park, Patricia Generazio’s homebred Disco Partner (Disco Rico) overcame all and absolutely buried the field in his 5-year-old debut for trainer Christophe Clement.

Coming off a six-plus month layoff, the turf sprint specialist had been posting a series of regularly-spaced works at Payson Park for Clement, who took over training duties from James Ryerson after his successful three-year run with the grey.

In addition to having to overcome the time off, Disco Partner had rarely ventured beyond six furlongs, and was not necessarily at his best over “good” turf, the condition he faced on Saturday. Clement himself expressed reservations when the race was drawn.

“I’ve got a question mark on the seven-eighths as well as a question mark on the softer turf,” said Clement. “I don’t know if it is ideal for him. He might want to go shorter and I think he would do well on firmer turf, but the horse has been training well. It’s time to go.”

Little did Clement know, Disco Partner was also destined to be faced with the prospect of closing into a slow pace and losing ground when forced to circle the field in the turn.

After Disco Partner exited post four alertly as the narrow 5-2 favorite, jockey Irad Ortiz Jr took his mount hard in hand and settled in last place, six lengths off leader Siding Spring, who got away with a moderate 23.75 first quarter and 47.66 half.

Still under a hold for the remainder of the backstretch run, Disco Partner came off the rail in the approach to the far turn. The grey had to swing out five wide at the head of the stretch.

Ortiz did not really ask Disco Partner until he straightened away. Once he got his cue, Disco Partner unleashed his devastating late kick and inhaled his rivals like they were standing still. Solidly in the lead by the furlong marker, Disco Partner drew off to win by 1 3/4 lengths in a final time of 1:22.61 over the “good” turf.

Veteran New York-bred turfer Kharafa (6-1), while kicking off his 8-year-old campaign, advanced from a covered up position in third to get the place, collaring Siding Spring late. The New York-bred exacta paid $40.60 for a $2 bet. [VIDEO REPLAY]

“The trainer didn’t put me under any pressure, he just told me to save ground,” said Ortiz, who had ridden Disco Partner once in 2015 and in his final start of 2016, finishing a close-up fourth in the Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational Stakes.

Ortiz continued, “I had to wait a little while after the turn, but it worked out good. With the kind of horse that comes off the pace, I knew I was going to have to go around them because they were going to take cover in the turn. I was stuck in there when we were turning for home and I knew I had a lot of horse, so I had to take him around and just let him do his thing.”

Clement added, “He was very impressive today. They went fairly slow up front and Irad gave him a perfect trip to put himself in a position to win. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to the previous trainer [Jim Ryerson], he came to me in very good shape. He’s a very nice horse. It’s fun because I trained Pure Sensation who ran against Disco Partner and for the same owners, Mr. and Mrs. Generazio, so it’s wonderful.”

With six wins, four seconds and two thirds from 16 career starts, Disco Partner has earned $456,810. A runner-up in last year’s Grade 3 Jaipur Invitational Stakes by a neck to Clement-trained Pure Sensation, Disco Partner won the open Troy Stakes at Saratoga.

This talented homebred, who was foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia, is one of five winners out of Lulu’s Number (Numerous), a multiple winner of over $200,000 also bred by Generazio in New Jersey. Her first foal Don Six’s Number (Don Six) is a stakes performer and earner of $212,686. The mare’s offspring combined have earned over $1.1 million in purses.

Currently Lulu’s Number has a 2-year-old filly by Posse named Lulu’s Partner, did not produce a foal in 2016 and foaled a First Samurai colt on February 14.

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