07/23/2007 11:00PM

'General' seeks one spot better

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SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Trainer Brian Pitnick wasn't sure what he had in Lucky General, but he was sure of one thing: The 3-year-old gelding was never going to be a sprinter.

"It's amazing how reliable the pedigree line is sometimes," Pitnick said. "It doesn't show any speed, and you figured he'd be a natural routing and a natural on the grass."

Lucky General, who is by the Argentine-bred sire Chullo and out of a Cozzene mare, lived up to Pitnick's assumptions - and his pedigree - running second in his career debut May 28 at Golden Gate in a $32,000 maiden claimer at 1 1/16 miles on the turf at nearly 59-1.

He makes his second start Thursday at the Sonoma County Fair in a one-mile maiden turf race.

Pitnick said Lucky General's dam, Coo Cat, is a half-sister to McCann's Mojave, who won the 1 1/8-mile Sunshine Millions Classic in January and has earned more than $1.2 million. Pitnick said Lucky General gets his grass breeding from Cozzene, and that his sire, Chullo, was best on turf but gets horses who run on both dirt and turf.

"Most Chullos run on dirt and run early," he said. "I felt we should wait because he's a late April foal anyway. We were hopeful he would show some ability."

Lucky General is "kind of in his own world," said Pitnick, who wasn't sure what to expect in the gelding's debut. Lucky General was last, trailing by a dozen lengths after the opening quarter, and was still last at the quarter pole but was gearing up. He was blocked at the head of the lane and then came flying late to be beaten by 1 1/2 lengths.

"When they run the first time like that and finish that strong, you hope it's not an aberration," Pitnick said. "He's still a work in progress, but expectations are a lot higher this time."

Lucky General has six rivals, including an entry of Private Assets and Ocean Cracker.

Private Assets, by Deputy Minister, is a half-brother to a pair of stakes-placed runners, including Simone's Show, who was stakes-placed on turf.

Devil Cielo finished third on the turf against winners and then second against straight maidens on the dirt at Pleasanton. He finished behind Lucky General in Lucky General's debut.