The 2018 Jockey Club Gold Cup was a heart-warming illustration of why horse racing is such an egalitarian sport.  Regardless of a horse’s pedigree or the pedigrees and accomplishments of who owns and trains the animal, the horse has to prove merit on the racetrack.

The two most powerful racing stables on the planet, Godolphin and Coolmore, sent out impeccably-bred entries in the Gold Cup—Thunder Snow and Mendelssohn—who finished second and third, respectively.  Yet the winner was Discreet Lover, a 45-1 shot owned and trained by Parx-based Uriah St. Lewis, who acquired the 5-year-old horse for $10,000 at a 2-year-old in training sale.

The 60-year-old St. Lewis was born in Trinidad and emigrated to the United States in 1973 when he was a teenager.  After employment with AmTote International as a computer specialist, he decided to be a horse trainer and worked and learned from a trainer who raced at several tracks in the Midwest and Southwest.  Mr. St. Lewis got his training license in 1988 and eventually came to Parx near Philadelphia.  Today, most of the horses he trains he also owns.

Discreet Lover was sired by Repent, who stood at stud in Florida for $3,000 before being sold and shipped to Trinidad.  Repent had career earnings of $1.2 million.  Discreet Lover’s dam is an unraced mare by Discreet Cat.

Discreet Lover has had 44 starts with 7 wins, 7 seconds, and 7 thirds.  The Jockey Club Gold Cup was his first Grade I win and the same holds true for his owner/trainer.  The winner’s share of the Gold Cup was $450,000 and Mr. St. Lewis said he also bet $100 across the board on his horse.

The fictional club fighter Rocky Balboa rose from obscurity in South Philly to shock big-time boxing.  The Philadelphia duo of Uriah St. Lewis and Discreet Lover are real-life Rocky-like characters from the world of horse racing and the best underdog story since Mine That Bird came out of New Mexico to win the 2009 Kentucky Derby.

Regardless of whether Discreet Lover ever wins another race, he will be remembered for the 2018 Jockey Club Gold Cup, the day he took down blueblood horses owned by a Mideast ruler and an Irish magnate.

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