Streaking Disco Partner repeats in Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational, is BC-bound

Saturday, October 6th, 2018

Coglianese Photos

By Sarah Mace

If the outcome of Disco Partner’s two most recent starts was not all his connections could have desired, the 6-year-old son of late New York sire Disco Rico made amends in spades Saturday when he came flying in the stretch to post a confident 4 1/2-length victory in the $150,000 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational Stakes. The grey, who also won the race in 2017, will be pointed next to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.

A homebred for Patricia and Frank Generazio trained by Christophe Clement, Disco Partner was looking for just his second win in his fifth start of the term. He started things off in April in the Grade 2 Shakertown Stakes at Keenland, where he finished third. Disco Partner may hold the world record time for six furlongs on turf (1:05.67 in the 2017 Jaipur at Belmont Park) but has not been successful on soft turf, which was the condition of the Keeneland course for the Shakertown.

In his second start of the year, Disco Partner Successfully defended his Jaipur title in June, but followed up with a pair of losses. He was fifth in the Forbidden Apple after being bumped at the break and flattening out, and third in the Grade 3 Troy Handicap at Saratoga where, once again, he was faced with soft turf.

“Disco Partner has been a little bit unlucky in his last two starts,” said Christophe Lorieul, longtime assistant to trainer Christophe Clement, at the time of the Turf Sprint Invitational draw. “The firmness of the ground is a big factor for him but with the race going at his usual distance (six furlongs), we hope he gives a good account of himself.” On race day, Belmont’s inner turf course was labeled “good,” but, as it turned out, this was well within Disco Partner’s comfort zone.

Even money favorite at post time and breaking on top from post one under regular pilot Irad Ortiz, Jr., Disco Partner took back into fourth for tactical stalking. Meanwhile Pure Sensation – Disco Partner’s uncoupled stablemate, fellow Generazio grey homebred and fellow sprint star– set the early splits, clocking a quarter mile in 21.07 and half in 45.08.

NYRA/Annette Jasko

Continuing his hedge-hugging trip up the backstretch, Disco Partner began his bid mid-way around the bend and angled out three-wide at the head of the lane. He gained second, then set his sights on his stablemate.

Running down Pure Sensation around the furlong marker, Disco Partner then poured it on, finishing up a 4 1/2-length winner under a strong hand ride and completing the six furlongs in 1:08.50. Blind Ambition (8-1) rallied into second while Pure Sensation hung on for third. Proforma, fourth, was followed by Gidu and Pocket Change. [VIDEO REPLAY]

“I got a perfect trip,” said Ortiz, Jr. “He broke well. I took a hold of him, and when I asked him, he took off.”

The pilot continued, “He made me feel very confident on top of him. When I asked him, he was there for me. He was traveling perfect and then I smooched on him at the three-eighths pole and he took off right away for me. I knew he was going to be there for me. He’s a fighter. He always shows up.”

Trainer Christophe Clement said, “[Disco Partner]’s getting older, but he’s still one of the best, if not the best sprinter, in New York, and I thought it was a very impressive performance. Irad [Ortiz, Jr.] was not too hard on him which is great.”

Clement felt that the race set Disco Partner up well for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs. “I don’t like to have too hard of a race before the Breeders’ Cup, so I was very happy with the performance today.”

Disco Partner began his career with a successful three-year run with trainer Jimmy Ryerson (2014-2016), breaking his maiden first out on dirt, switching to turf in his fifth start, winning through his allowance conditions and winning the Troy Stakes after a couple of stakes placings.

Relocating to Clement’s barn in 2017, he won four of six starts, headlined by his record-setting Jaipur. In addition to victories in the Elusive Quality and Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational, Disco Partner also successfully stretched out to a mile to win the Forbidden Apple Stakes which was a tour de force performance for a confirmed sprinter. His Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational win this year brings the tally of his stakes victories to seven.

Winner of 11 of 26 starts in all with four seconds and five thirds, Disco Partner has earned $1,264,810.

A third-generation product of Patricia and Frank Generazio’s breeding program, Disco Partner was foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia.  His dam is Lulu’s Number (Numerous), a New Jersey-bred multiple winner of over $200,000 trained by Ben Perkins, Jr. Disco Partner’s second dam Mary Lou’s Magic (Concord Dream) was bred in Florida and trained by Frank Generazio.

As a broodmare, Lulu’s Number has produced six winners from seven starters, including Don Six’s Number (Don Six), a stakes performer and earner of $212,686. Lulu’s Number has yearling colt by First Samurai, foaled a colt by Into Mischief on May 20, 2018 and was bred to Arrogate in the spring.

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