01/02/2010 12:00AM

Ibboyee tries open company in Count Fleet

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Ibboyee will look to build on his win in the Damon Runyon in Saturday's Count Fleet Stakes.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainers Todd Pletcher and Tony Dutrow have their better 3-year-olds bedded down in south Florida for the winter. But what they left behind in New York could be more than good enough to win the early stakes in the division at Aqueduct.

That theory will be tested Saturday when Pletcher sends out Ibboyee and Dutrow runs Laus Deo in the $65,000 Count Fleet, the first 3-year-old stakes of the year at Aqueduct. A field of eight was entered for the Count Fleet, run at a mile and 70 yards over the inner track.

Ibboyee, trained by Todd Pletcher, meets open company for the first time after winning four of five starts against New York-breds as a 2-year-old. Ibboyee overcame a lot to win the Damon Runyon here Dec. 6. He stumbled at the break and though he was receiving a ground-saving trip, he lost position entering the far turn. Ibboyee split horses around the turn, tipped four wide for the stretch drive, and won without being hit by jockey Ramon Dominguez.

"We were impressed," said Jonathan Thomas, assistant to Pletcher. "He showed a whole new dimension able to overcome breaking like he did and the trip like he did to rally and win that way,"

Ibboyee will break from post 2 under Dominguez.

Laus Deo, a son of Medaglia d'Oro, won his maiden in his third start for Dutrow and Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farm. While that victory came in a seven-furlong race, Dutrow believes his horse will prove better around two turns. Laus Deo's first two starts were around two turns, but Dutrow said the horse needed those races.

"He was a big dummy, needed the experience," said Dutrow, whose top 3-year-old, Winslow Homer, is eyeing the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream. "I wanted to keep him two turns. I reluctantly ran him seven-eighths when the two-turn race didn't fill. He's an improving horse on the come."

Laus Deo will break from the rail under David Cohen.

Afleet Again defeated Laus Deo in a maiden race at Philadelphia Park before finishing third to the aforementioned Winslow Homer in an allowance race on Nov. 20. Trainer Butch Reid is adding blinkers to Afleet Again's equipment for the Count Fleet.

Completing the field are Turbo Speed, an undefeated (3 for 3) Pennsylvania-bred; Peppi Knows, runner-up to Buddy's Saint in the Remsen; and Run to Grand Ave., Worth a Buck, and Our Commander.