10/26/2004 11:00PM

Dubleo looms one to catch


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Most 2-year-olds haven't raced five times this year, let alone won five races. Dubleo has done just that. Friday, he bids for his sixth victory in the $100,000 Bourbon County Stakes at Keeneland, a 1 1/16-mile grass race for 2-year-olds.

The likely favorite, has little margin for error. Some horses that raced competitively behind him this summer and fall - United and Go to the Sun - are back to test him again, along with a large group of new shooters.

A son of Southern Halo, Dubleo has not lost in four starts since finishing fifth in the Grade 3 Flash Stakes at Belmont on June 4. He won an allowance and a stakes race at Colonial, took the Continental Mile at Monmouth on Sept. 5, and followed that by winning the Grade 2 Summer at Woodbine over next-out winner Dance With Ravens on Sept. 19. He has made more than $278,000 for trainer Todd Pletcher and his owners, Jake Pletcher and James Scatuorchio.

All of Dubleo's victories have come in front-running fashion. With relatively little pace in the Bourbon County, jockey Chris DeCarlo should be able to place him on the lead.

Like most of the starters in the field, Dubleo is making his first start at 1 1/16 miles. Gun Salute and Rey de Cafe are two exceptions. They finished one-two in a Keeneland turf allowance at 1 1/16 miles Oct. 14, with both earning an 80 Beyer Speed Figure. Those numbers are just off the 82 Beyer that Dubleo received in his last start.

is owned by G. Watts Humphrey Jr., who through Wednesday had already won six races during the meet, with horses he owns in full or in partnership.

Other prominent entrants in the Bourbon County include Ready Ruler, winner of the El Joven Stakes at Retama on Sept. 4, and Major League, who took the Harrah's Juvenile at Louisiana Downs over a yielding course Sept. 25.

Friday's card also features a pair of allowance sprints for 2-year-olds. Royal Moment and Crimson Stag, the two-three finishers in a similar allowance at Keeneland Oct. 8, lead the sixth race, a 6 1/2-furlong entry-level allowance for males.

Two-year-old fillies are in action later on the card in the eighth race. In that seven-furlong event, Sweet Talker and J P Jewel drop out of graded stakes races and face Quiet a Ruckus, who won the My Dear Stakes at Woodbine in July.