Updated on 09/17/2011 10:55AM

Lion Tamer mauls 'em

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Lion Tamer ($3.80) rolls down the Gulfstream Park stretch under John Velazquez enroute to a six-length victory in Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Lion Tamer paid quick dividends for new owner Michael Tabor on Saturday, blowing away a decent field of 3-year-olds by six lengths in the Grade 2, $150,000 at Gulfstream Park.

Lion Tamer, a son of Will's Way, was making his first start for Tabor, who purchased him from John Fort's Peachtree Stable for a rumored $1.5 million following his last start. Saturday's victory was Lion Tamer's third straight following a debut loss.

"You'd have to be pleased with it, wouldn't you?" Tabor said. "He galloped out well."

Asked if he may have a Kentucky Derby contender in Lion Tamer, Tabor said."You're always hopeful." Trainer Todd Pletcher, said Tabor, "said he's a nice horse, we listened to him and now we'll hope for the best."

Though he was coming off an impressive allowance win on Jan. 4, Lion Tamer may have given his best performance to date on Saturday. Breaking a bit slowly, as usual, Lion Tamer quickly moved into second, sitting just off Crafty Guy, who set fractions of 22.18 and 44.29 seconds for the opening half mile.

Lion Tamer crept alongside Crafty Guy turning for home, and, with a few cracks of John Velazquez's right-handed whip, opened up two lengths at the eighth pole and drew clear. Strength Within rallied from last to be second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Crafty Guy. Scrimshaw, First Blush, and Cajun Beat completed the order of finish.

Lion Tamer covered seven furlongs in 1:22.60 and returned $3.80 as the favorite.

"He had annihilated maidens and annihilated 'a-other-thans' but today he annihilated a good group of graded stakes horses,' said Pletcher, who also trained Lion Tamer for Fort. "I had a couple of people come up to me and say this race is tougher than the Fountain of Youth on paper. Maybe it was."

Tabor and Pletcher were noncommittal about Lion Tamer's next start, but mentioned the Florida Derby on March 15 or the Gotham at Aqueduct on March 16 as possibilities.

Scrimshaw, the second choice, acted up in the gate and broke a step tardily under Jerry Bailey. After getting into contention down the backside, he never threatened.