01/07/2006 1:00AM

Asmussen discovers a second ace

Doctor Decherd takes a short lead from between horses entering the stretch of the Aventura.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Steve Asmussen came to south Florida this winter with one of the top 3-year-old prospects in the country, Private Vow, owned by Mike McCarty. Now Asmussen and McCarty have a second after Doctor Decherd withstood a stretch-long duel to outgame Itsallaboutthechase by a nose to win Saturday's $125,000 at Gulfstream Park.

Doctor Decherd came into the one-mile Aventura with only a single victory in three previous starts. A son of Louis Quatorze out of Hidden Pleasure, Doctor Decherd raced within easy striking distance of early leaders In Summation and Little Cliff, angled three wide to launch his bid into the stretch, then proved narrowly best after dueling Itsallaboutthechase eyeball to eyeball the length of the stretch.

Itsallaboutthechase also had only a maiden victory to his credit entering the Aventura. He raced within close proximity of the leaders, was sent up four wide to challenge for command coming out of the turn, and just failed after gaining a short lead outside the winner near midstretch.

My Golden Song rushed to contention after breaking a step slowly from the rail, continued forwardly throughout, and finished third while never a threat to the top pair. In Summation, the 9-5 favorite under jockey Jerry Bailey, led into the stretch before finishing a tiring fifth. Corinthian was ordered scratched at the gate by the track veterinarian.

Doctor Decherd ($31) covered the distance in 1:37.75 over a fast track. Shaun Bridgmohan, who swept the day's three stakes races, including the Aventura and Mr. Prospector for Asmussen, put up a flawless ride on Doctor Decherd.

"That race was everything you could have hoped for," said Asmussen. "This horse showed ability in his maiden win but didn't handle a full field well as the favorite in his last start. Shaun gave him a great ride today. He got passed through the stretch and battled back. Hopefully, he will keep heading in the right direction. This was a very hard race. Shaun asked him for all he had, so we will pass the Holy Bull Stakes with him and wait for the Fountain of Youth in March."