03/05/2007 12:00AM

As good as it gets for Pletcher


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - It was business as usual at Todd Pletcher's barns at Palm Beach Downs and Palm Meadows on Sunday morning, less than 12 hours after the three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer completed arguably his single most successful day since taking out his license nine years ago.

Pletcher won five races, including three Grade 2 stakes, at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. The most important was Scat Daddy's game nose decision over Stormello in the Fountain of Youth. Several hours later, at Santa Anita, Pletcher also won an $82,000 allowance race with Icy Atlantic and finished second with Sam P. in the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes. Pletcher also narrowly missed what would have been a career-best six wins on a single card when Vamanos was nosed out of what to most observers appeared to be a victory in the second race at Gulfstream.

"That was one of those strange photos," Pletcher recalled after training hours had finally ended at Palm Meadows on Sunday. "From where I was watching everybody seemed to think Vamanos had won. But Scat Daddy's photo was nearly as close and I guess you'd have to say that was a fair trade off on our part."

Losing that photo was about the only thing that went wrong for Pletcher on Saturday.

"I thought it was a collection of good performances all around, each one in a different way," Pletcher said.

Of all his wins on Saturday, Pletcher was probably most impressed with Half Our's performance capturing the Richter Scale for his fifth victory in as many tries.

"He got knocked sideways at the start and set some torrid fractions, but still dug in to win," said Pletcher. "It was a big effort, and every win gets a little more special when they're undefeated like he is."

Half Ours will now be pointed for the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct, where his chief competition could come from stablemate Keyed Entry.

Keyed Entry, who returned from a long layoff to win the Grade 2 Deputy Minister Handicap here last month, had his first work since that victory Sunday at Palm Beach Downs, where he was joined on the tab by Master Command and Soaring By. Both will run at Fair Grounds on Saturday, Master Command in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap and Soaring By in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby.

"Keyed Entry was feeling so good he grabbed a quarter while training one morning after the Deputy Minister," said Pletcher. "He missed a week but is doing very well now."

Pletcher has also been busy gearing up the five horses he's planning to send to Dubai to compete on the World Cup card. The group is led by the multiple Grade 1 winner English Channel, who will compete in the Dubai Duty Free. Pletcher also has Honey Ryder for the Sheema Classic, Host for either the Duty Free or Sheema Classic, as well as Bishop Court Hill and Friendly Island for the Golden Shaheen.

Host worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.20 seconds over the Palm Meadows turf course on Monday.

Swap Fliparoo preps for Rampart

Grade 1 winner Swap Fliparoo worked seven furlongs in 1:26.20 here Monday. Afterward, trainer Allen Jerkens confirmed she will run in Saturday's Grade 2 Rampart Handicap. Swap Fliparoo is coming off a 6 1/4-length victory in the one-mile Sabin Handicap but has yet to try the 1 1/8-mile distance of the Rampart.

"She worked this morning like the extra distance shouldn't be a problem," said Jerkens.

A small field is expected for the Rampart, led by 2006 Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Round Pond, Indian Vale, and perhaps Classy Charm and Top Notch Lady. Round Pond will carry high weight of 122 pounds, five more than the Pletcher-trained Indian Vale and Swap Fliparoo.

Good news, bad news for McGaughey

Trainer Shug McGaughey reported Monday that his 3-year-old prospect Rescue Party will be sidelined indefinitely after sustaining a leg injury during last Saturday's third race. Rescue Party was favored to win the 7 1/2-furlong allowance race but was never a factor after breaking very poorly from post 1.

"I don't know exactly when he got hurt, but his leg was all blown up when he came back to the barn," said McGaughey. "He's sound today but he won't run again for a while."

McGaughey had better news when it came to his other potential Kentucky Derby prospect, Sightseeing, who finished third after a wide trip in Saturday's fifth race.

"I thought he ran fine considering he lost a lot of ground from a bad post," said McGaughey. "We've still got to try to figure out what his running style is. There's still a chance he could come back in the Florida Derby. I'll watch and see what happens with the field before making a decision."

Probable starters scarce for two stakes

The prospective starting lineups for Saturday's Grade 2 Bonnie Miss and Grade 2 Forward Gal stakes are coming up short.

Christmas Kid, Lost Etiquette, and Swift Temper are among the only confirmed starters for the 1 1/8-mile Bonnie Miss, according to the racing office, with Autobahn Girl and Fee Fi Fo Fum listed as possible. Autobahn Girl is also nominated for the Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs the following weekend.

Boca Grande, Bold Assurance, and the undefeated Silver Knockers are among only a handful of potential starters for the seven-furlong Forward Gal.