Uriah St. Lewis and Discreet Lover teamed to form the feel-good story of the fall when St. Lewis’ 5-year-old closed from off the pace to win the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at 45-1 odds on Sept. 29 at Belmont Park.
The victory earned Discreet Lover a starting spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 3 and gave St. Lewis, 60, his first career Grade 1 win.
Although Discreet Lover could not complete a fairytale ending in the Classic — he finished eighth of 14 — he did boost his season earnings to $903,825 and his lifetime bankroll to $1,434,685, not a bad return on investment for a racehorse St. Lewis bought as a 2-year-old for $10,000.
The Hard Spun filly finished in the top three in two of her first four starts before a breakthrough 1 ¼-length win on Nov. 11 at Parx Racing. That one-mile maiden race was her first try stretching out in distance and gave St. Lewis the confidence to take a shot in the Demoiselle.
“This particular filly has some real ability, we just needed to go long,” St. Lewis said. “We knew once she got going two turns, she would show her true path, and she wasn’t even tight enough.”
As was the case with Discreet Lover in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Afleet Destiny was overlooked in the Demoiselle betting at 26.75-1 odds and far exceeded the expectations of everyone, except maybe owner-trainer St. Lewis. He purchased her in May for $35,000 at the Fasif-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale, the same auction where he found Discreet Lover in 2015.
Bred in Kentucky out of the stakes-placed Northern Afleet mare Afleet Lover, Afleet Destiny will stay in New York and target the 1 1/8-mile Busanda Stakes on Feb. 3 at Aqueduct.
“We’ll give her a couple weeks off then train toward the Busanda,” St. Lewis said. “We’re going to stay in New York with her.”