03/06/2004 12:00AM

Lion Tamer perfect in many ways

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EQUI-PHOTOS
Lion Tamer scores a three-quarter-length win in Saturday's Richter Scale at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Todd Pletcher says he believes Lion Tamer will eventually be a horse who could be successful around two turns. For now, however, Pletcher does not plan to mess with a good thing.

Lion Tamer remained perfect (3 for 3) at seven furlongs, with a solid three-quarter-length victory over the game Coach Jimi Lee in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 at Gulfstream Park. It was another half-length back to longshot Wacky for Love in third.

Gygistar, Valid Video, True Direction, and Multiple Choice completed the order of finish.

Lion Tamer is now 4 for 4 at Gulfstream. His biggest win as a 3-year-old came in the Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes over this course last year. After that, he was unsuccessful in a pair of two turn Kentucky Derby preps and was just a tired horse.

"He's obviously a very, very talented horse, he just wasn't ready for that kind of campaign as a young 3-year-old," Pletcher said.

Breaking from post 7 under John Velazquez, Lion Tamer stalked the pace set by True Direction and Wacky for Love. Entering the far turn, Velazquez sent Lion Tamer after the leaders. He was four wide in the stretch, but was able to outkick Coach Jimi Lee, who rallied up the rail under Pat Day.

Lion Tamer, a son of Will's Way owned by Michael Tabor, covered the seven furlongs in 1:21.52 and returned $5.20 as the 8-5 favorite.

"Anytime you run 1:21 and 2 it's a pretty solid race," said Pletcher, who also won the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks with Ashado. "I know the track is fast today. It looked like he was always going well. Johnny said he kind of idled a bit when he made the lead. How much more was there I don't know, but there was enough there to get it done."