03/04/2007 12:00AM

Half Ours might be best of day for Pletcher


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Saturday wasn't just the day for Todd Pletcher to showcase his 3-year-old talent. He has a pretty good older sprinter as well.

On a day when Pletcher won five races at Gulfstream Park - three of them stakes - the most impressive performance might have been put in by Half Ours, a 4-year-old who contested fast early fractions and was still running fast at the end to take the Grade 2, $225,000 Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Handicap by a half-length. Park Avenue Ball rallied down the center of the course to get second by a half-length over Diabolical.

The race was marred by the breakdown of Bright One, who broke the sesamoid bone in his left foreleg and had to be euthanized. He finished fourth in the race.

The victory was the fifth in as many starts for Half Ours, his first in a graded stakes.

Half Ours was bumped while breaking sharply and had the lead a few jumps out of the gate and ran an opening quarter in 21.76 seconds. Bright One, who broke slowly, rushed up to take the lead soon after and John Velazquez, aboard Half Ours, was content to sit off Bright One as the half-mile went in 43.72 seconds.

"I didn't want to be head-and-head; I kept a length behind the other horse," Velazquez said. "He's never been too far back so I didn't want to get him too far back and get discouraged. I put him right behind the other horse where he could see the other horse and be competitive."

Half Ours continued to stalk Bright One until just outside the sixteenth pole when he took command. Half Ours, a son of Unbridled's Song owned by Aaron and Marie Jones, covered the seven furlongs in 1:22.21 and returned $5.60 as the favorite.

"I thought he ran huge," Pletcher said. "Johnny said he got sideswiped at the start, he said it knocked the air out of him. He got up and prompted very fast fractions, put away a couple of nice horses and dug in when a couple of nice horses came to him. He's a superstar."

Pletcher said Half Ours would be pointed to the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct on Aprilo7.