01/02/2010 12:00AM

Laus Deo passes test in Count Fleet

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - In the days leading up to Saturday's trainer Tony Dutrow described Laus Deo as a "big dummy" who needed the experience of his first few races.

Saturday, Laus Deo showed that he has smartened up in a hurry.

Taking command soon after the start under jockey David Cohen, Laus Deo led six rivals on a merry but futile chase around Aqueduct's inner track in recording a three-quarter-length victory in the Count Fleet. Worth a Buck, who lagged behind the field, came with a late run to be second, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Turbo Speed. It was three lengths back to 2-5 favorite Ibboyee in fourth.

The victory was the second straight for Laus Deo, a son of Medaglia d'Oro owned by Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farm. It was the third win on the card for Cohen, who has a meet-best 19 wins during the first 17 days of racing.

Laus Deo set fractions of 24.30 seconds, 49.48, 1:15.12, 1:40.49, and covered the mile and 70 yards in 1:44.91. He returned $22.80 to win. The only real challenge Laus Deo faced was when Turbo Speed, under David Cora, came to him in midstretch, but the horse responded to Cohen's right-handed whip.

"Every time they came to him, he gave it another little punch without calling on him," Cohen said. "Once I did you could see what he did; he really leveled out very well."

Ramon Dominguez had Ibboyee in second until the quarter pole, but he offered no kick in the stretch.

"When I couldn't make the lead I just sat off the winner thinking I was in good shape in that position, and I just didn't have any kick the last part today," Dominguez said.

Peppi Knows, the runner-up in the Remsen, was scratched by the stewards because his trainer, Tim Kreiser, was unable to purchase workers' compensation by race day.

* Saturday's daily double covering races 6 and 7 returned more than $4,226, the second-highest double payoff at a New York Racing Association track, according to the NYRA publicity staff. The winners were Hudson Heights ($223) and Gold Vendetta ($60). The highest double payoff was $4,313.90 on Aug. 27, 1945 at Saratoga. Hudson Heights gave trainer Colum O'Brien his first winner since Follow My Dream won the Perfect Arc division of the New York Stallion Stakes on Nov. 9, 2008. He went 0 for 51 during that span.