03/01/2007 12:00AM

Out of Gwedda well connected in Hutcheson


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - There are no handicapping systems that work all the time. But there is one that has proven successful each of the last four years in Gulfstream Park's $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes: Betting the horse trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez.

Pletcher and Velazquez have combined to win the past four renewals of the 7 1/2-furlong Hutcheson - with Lion Tamer, Limehouse, Proud Accolade, and Keyed Entry.

They'll go for an unprecedented fifth straight Hutcheson win with Out of Gwedda on Saturday.

Pletcher has two others in the Grade 2 sprint for 3-year-olds - King of the Roxy and Air Lord. To keep the Pletcher-Velazquez streak alive, Out of Gwedda must top a strong group, which includes the likely favorite Forefathers, the undefeated Spin Master, and the Sunshine Millions Dash winner Storm in May.

Out of Gwedda was an easy winner of his first two starts, including the Tremont Stakes, before being sidelined nearly six months due to a problem that surfaced in his left foreleg last summer at Saratoga. He launched his comeback here here on Jan. 7, finishing a troubled second behind Buffalo Man in the Spectacular Bid Stakes.

"He stumbled out of the gate and grabbed himself a bit in the Spectacular Bid, which not only cost him the race but cost us some time," said Pletcher. "But he's training extremely well. We've been pointing for this one for a while, and I expect him to run a big race."

King of the Roxy will make his first start since finishing eighth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. One start earlier, King of the Roxy outgamed C P West to win Belmont's Grade 2 Futurity.

"He's probably best suited for middle distances around one turn," Pletcher said. "He's training nicely, and although he's been away for a while I think he should be fit enough to give a good account of himself on Saturday."

Forefathers is coming off a game second-place effort behind Adore the Gold in his stakes debut in the Grade 2 Swale on Feb. 3, and is the number one Kentucky Derby hopeful in trainer Nick Zito's barn.

"He's got good tactical speed, and if he can learn to go a distance he's got a possibility to make the Derby," Zito said, "although he isn't quite ready for a race like the Fountain of Youth and a horse like Nobiz Like Shobiz just yet."

Spin Master is perfect in two starts and enters the Hutcheson off a 1o1/4-length entry-level allowance win for which he earned a 99 Beyer Speed Figure.

"He's fast but relaxes, and I think he's as good as anybody," said trainer Dale Romans. "His lack of experience and seasoning is my biggest concern."