Undefeated Pilot Discretion in Goodtimes
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Pilot Discretion, from the stable of Tony Alagna, developed slowly last season at 2. When he was ready to go at Lexington’s Red Mile in late September, he proved the trainer’s patience was well invested by winning a late closer by 6-1/2 lengths in 1:56 and following up a week later with a five-length 1:55.1 score.
After returning home to New Jersey in October, Pilot Discretion got sick. He was soon able to return to training and looked set to compete in a preliminary round of the Kindergarten Series at The Meadowlands, which would serve as a prep for the Valley Victory Stakes, but he spiked a temperature again. Alagna decided it was best to quit with the colt rather than push on.
“It may be the best thing that ever happened to him long term because he’s come back really good,” Alagna said this week as he prepared to send Pilot Discretion to Canada for the Goodtimes. “Sometimes things work out the way they’re supposed to.”
Pilot Discretion pushed his perfect slate to 4-for-4 by winning two conditioned races last month at The Meadowlands. His most recent victory came by 2-1/4 lengths over 5-year-old Stenhouse Hanover in a career-best 1:52.4. That time is tied for the fourth fastest by a 3-year-old this year.
“He was an immature colt and we took our time with him,” Alagna said. “He’s really matured into himself nicely. It’s a nice time to try him against stakes company. He couldn’t be any sharper than he is right now. He trained great (Monday). For an inexperienced colt last year, he’s really come back good.”
Pilot Discretion was one of 19 horses entered in the Goodtimes. The field was divided into two eliminations, with Pilot Discretion landing in the second. He will start from post No. 6 with regular driver Andy McCarthy. He is among three horses in the group, with Valley Victory winner Southwind Avenger and stakes winner Kings County, eligible to August’s $1 million Hambletonian Stakes.
The first elimination features eight Hambletonian eligibles: Smart As Hill, Trix And Stones, Swandre The Giant, Forbidden Trade, Magical Winner K, Blazing Trail, Only For Justice, and Super Schissel. Forbidden Trade was last year’s Ontario Sire Stakes champion; Super Schissel captured the Matron Stakes.
Pilot Discretion, whose four wins have resulted in $26,000 in purses, is a son of Muscle Hill out of Self Indulgent. He was purchased for $100,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by Robert Leblanc, Dave Anderson, and John Fodera.
“He acts like a horse that’s going to be very versatile,” Alagna said. “He acts like a horse that can leave, that can sit, he can do a lot of things. He’s not aggressive, he’s a nice horse to drive. That goes a long way. He’s really done well.”
Friday’s card at Mohawk also includes two eliminations for the Armbro Flight Stakes for older female trotters. The first elim includes 2018 Trotter of the Year Atlanta and world-record-holder Plunge Blue Chip, who is making her 4-year-old debut. The second elim includes 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover, 2018 O’Brien Award winner Emoticon Hanover, 2017 Dan Patch Award winner Manchego, and Darling Mearas S, a Swedish standout making her North American debut.--By Ken Weingartner/USTA