Trainer Todd Pletcher shipped to Southern California for his second Hollywood Turf Festival triumph in as many days when Dubleo registered his sixth win of 2004 in the $100,000 Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 2-year-olds going a mile on the turf.
Under a steady rainfall, Dubleo, the 7-5 choice in the field 12, rallied late under urging from Corey Nakatani to collar Littlebitofzip, who threatened to go gate to wire at 41-1, close to home, winning by three-quarters of a length. Sunny Sky made up a good deal of ground in the stretch to miss second by a nose. The final time on a firm course was 1:37 1/5.
"Today we opted to take off the speed, and I was pretty confident I would be able to run (Littlebitofzip) down. He gave us a little anxious moment, though, because the ground does have a lot of give to it," Nakatani said.
Alex Bisono kept Littlebitofzip out of trouble, making an easy lead through fractions of :23 4/5, :47 2/5 and 1:12. The colt led by five lengths heading into the stretch and refused to give in as Dubleo and Nakatani, tracking in second throughout, launched their attack.
"He ran a super race. We almost had it," Bisono said. "I heard the other horses coming at the sixteenth pole. I was hoping we could hold on, but the winner is a pretty nice horse."
The French-bred Sunny Sky, making his first United States start for famed trainer Maurice Zilber, was the only horse in the big field to make any sort of move after being far back early. Under Rene Douglas, Sunny Sky made up nearly five lengths from the eighth pole. Chattahoochee War finished fourth, 3 3/4 lengths behind the winner.
Forzeen, Petrus, Veiled Speed, Generalist, Vitruvian, Lucky Bid, Quiet Money and Doctor Kananga followed.
The British-bred Moth Ball, a 6-1 shot also making his U.S. debut for trainer James Cassidy, flipped in the gate prior to the start and was a late scratch. The son of Royal Applause did not appear to be seriously injured.
Pletcher, who won the Cigar Mile (gr. I) at Aqueduct earlier Saturday with Lion Tamer, took a division of the Miesque (gr. IIIT) for 2-year-old fillies Friday at Hollywood Park with Paddy's Daisy, also ridden by Nakatani.
Dubleo won the Summer Stakes (Can-II) with Nakatani aboard at Woodbine Sept. 19. He was coming off a second-place finish by a neck in Keeneland's Bourbon County last month. That ended a four-race winning streak for the dark bay colt by Southern Halo-Secret Red (Secretariat).
He now boasts a 6-1-1 mark in nine career efforts at 2 with earnings of $360,899 for a partnership that includes Pletcher's father, J.J. Pletcher, Peter Wetterman and Jim Scataurchio.
Assistant Michael McCarthy saddled the winner.
"This weekend's been good, we'll see if we can keep it rolling in the Matriarch (with Ocean Drive)," MCarthy said.
A $90,000 Fasig-Tipton buy in July 2003, Dubleo was bred in Kentucky by Anzac LLC.
He paid $4.80, $3.40 and $, combining with Littlebitofzip ($18, $9.40) for a $103 exacta. Sunny Sky ($5.80) rounded out a $990.60 trifecta.