Norumbega hopes to reveal true self in Discovery' Cap
By Jenny Kellner | 10/30/2013 04:07 PM ET
A year ago, Norumbega was the only juvenile in Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey's barn with a victory. In the ensuing months, however, the Tiznow colt was eclipsed by his stablemate, Orb, who won the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, the Grade 1 Florida Derby, and the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby even as Norumbega was toiling away in optional claimers.
Norumbega has won two out of his last three starts, however, and on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack, he'll get a chance to grab the spotlight for himself when he faces seven other 3-year-olds in the 70th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Discovery Handicap.
The 1 1/8-mile Discovery will be run as race 6 on the special eight-race card at the Big A, which also features the simulcast of the Breeders' Cup from Santa Anita Park. First race post time is 12:25 p.m.
"He's probably our second-best 3-year-old," said McGaughey assistant Buzz Tenney of Norumbega, who like Orb carries the colors of Stuart S. Janney, III. "He's a great big, leggy kind of horse. He's a nice colt, and he's got a good mind. He's by Tiznow, so I think his future is ahead of him."
Third against older horses in his April 2013 debut, Norumbega next registered a pair of fifths and a second at Belmont Park. Three starts back, he won a first-level allowance at Saratoga Race Course, was eighth over a muddy, sealed track in the Grade 3 Smarty Jones at Parx Racing and most recently was a front-running winner of a nine-furlong, second-level allowance over the synthetic surface at Keeneland.
"I think he had a legitimate excuse at Parx with the track being the way it was," said Tenney. "He's a two-turn horse, and this race should suit him fine."
Cornelio Velasquez will ride Norumbega, 10-1 on the morning line, from post position 8.
Favored in the Discovery is Godolphin Racing's Romansh, who following his victory by disqualification in the Curlin at Saratoga was fifth in the Grade 1 Travers behind winner Will Take Charge and runner-up Moreno and sixth behind those same two in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx.
Jose Ortiz will be in the irons for Romansh, who drew post position 7.
Also lining up for the Discovery will be a trio from trainer Todd Pletcher: the Repole stable entry of Micromanage and Midnight Taboo along with Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners' Battier.
Micromanage opened his 3-year-old campaign with an optional claiming victory at Monmouth Park, a second in the Easy Goer at Belmont and a victory in the Long Branch at Monmouth. Third in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational, the late-running colt was fifth in the Smarty Jones and then earned a career-best 95 Beyer Speed Figure when fourth in the Grade 2 Indiana Derby.
Midnight Taboo most recently was second by a head to fellow Discovery entrant Vegas No Show in the Coastal on October 9 at Belmont, while Battier loomed large at the top of the stretch in the Pennsylvania Derby before flattening out and finishing third
"I thought Battier's race was excellent," said Pletcher, who will give a leg up to apprentice Angel Castillo on the Tale of the Cat colt, 7-2 on the morning line from post position 6. "He's a horse who is maturing. He's always trained impressively so we think he has a big race in him."
Riding Micromanage from the rail is Irad Ortiz, Jr., while Chris DeCarlo will be aboard Midnight Taboo when he leaves from post position 3. The entry is 3-1 on the morning line.
Rounding out the field are Mr Palmer and Bad Hombre, seventh and 10th, respectively, in the Grade 2 Indiana Derby last time out, and Vegas No Show, the starting highweight under 119 pounds.
The field for the Grade 3, $200,000 Discovery Handicap:
a- coupled entry