01/04/2010 12:00AM

Laus Deo earns trip to Florida

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Laus Deo, winner of the Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct on Saturday, will be joining trainer Tony Dutrow's string at the Palm Meadows training center in south Florida later this week.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Laus Deo's front-running victory in Saturday's at Aqueduct earned him a ticket out of New York for the remainder of the winter. While his connections haven't picked out where the promising 3-year-old son of Medaglia d'Oro will make his next start, they have ruled out the $100,000 Whirlaway here Feb. 6.

"We're not going to stay in New York," Tony Dutrow, who trains Laus Deo for Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farm, said Monday from the Palm Meadows training center in south Florida, which Laus Deo will call home by week's end. "Not that we think we got the best horse in the world, we just think we're giving the horse a better chance coming down this way. You know first hand how rough December was and how it looks like January and February are going to be. We're giving the horse a chance to come down here and give him his opportunity."

Dutrow, whose top 3-year-old prospect, Winslow Homer - also owned by Porter - is eyeing the Holy Bull at Gulfstream on Jan. 23, said Laus Deo could be a candidate to run in any 3-year-old stakes races at Tampa Bay Downs, Fair Grounds, or Oaklawn. The Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream on Feb. 20 is possible as well.

Under David Cohen, Laus Deo got away with soft early fractions and then turned back a challenge from Turbo Speed in upper stretch. Laus Deo went on to win the Count Fleet by three-quarters of a length over a late-running Worth a Buck. Laus Deo ran a mile and 70 yards in 1:44.91 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 78. It was his second consecutive victory after two losses to begin his career.

"The race went extremely well for him," Dutrow said. "He was left alone on an easy lead and I was happy to see the horse relax."

Dutrow said Laus Deo would likely not leave for south Florida until mid-week.

Brake Lights could target Whirlaway

With Laus Deo heading out of town, the top 3-year-old in New York could be Brake Lights, who cruised to a 9 1/2-length maiden victory Saturday. Also able to get loose on the lead, Brake Lights ran a mile and 70 yards in 1:43.50 and earned an 87 Beyer.

As of Monday, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Brake Lights would remain in New York and would most likely point to the $100,000 Whirlaway Stakes on Feb. 6. The Whirlaway is a prep for the $250,000 Gotham Stakes on March 6.

"I just think he's doing well up there," McLaughlin, who trains Brake Lights for owner William Warren, said by phone Monday from Palm Meadows. "There's plenty of nice races to point for there with the Gotham and the Wood if he's that kind. We'll probably stay there unless Mr. Warren opts to send him down here. Today, we're pointing for the Whirlaway."

Brake Lights, a son of the Warren-owned Saint Liam, finished fifth to Afleet Express in his debut sprinting in the mud at Aqueduct on Dec. 5 Stretched out around two turns for the first time Saturday, Brake Lights managed to get loose on the lead under Dominguez through a half-mile in 48.53 seconds and he cruised home an easy winner.

"He trained really well back in June and July, we really liked him," McLaughlin said. "Shins got to aggravating him, we backed off a little bit, and it took longer than we thought to get him back. First time out, he got to lugging in pretty good; just green. . . . You never expect them to win by 10 lengths second start, but he did run a big race."

McLaughlin returned from a one-month medication suspension on Dec. 31. Since then, McLaughlin has won with 6 of 7 starters, including 4 of 5 at Aqueduct and one win apiece at Philadelphia Park and Laurel Park.

"We have run some really live runners since I've come back," said McLaughlin, whose New York assistant is Art Magnuson. "Everything's gone right. We run a couple of slow ones coming up, so it'll all balance out."