06/02/2004 12:00AM

Pletcher might see flashback


ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Todd Pletcher has won two of the last five runnings of the Flash Stakes. On Friday at Belmont Park, Pletcher will try to win the 2-year-old stakes for the second consecutive year.

Pletcher saddles Dubleo, who meets four rivals in the Grade 3, $100,000-added Flash.

are the only horses in the field to have won at the Flash's five-furlong distance. Also entered are Primal Storm, Departing Now, and Gold Joy.

Dubleo, a son of Southern Halo, finished third in his debut at Keeneland on April 9. Dubleo drew the outside post in an eight-horse field and rushed up five wide to contest the pace before tiring in the stretch. Six weeks later, he came back to win a five-furlong maiden race on the lead by 3 1/4 lengths at Belmont.

Pletcher said the circumstances at Keeneland were against Dubleo.

"[The trip] wasn't the best way to get into the winner's circle at Keeneland," Pletcher said. "He seemed to put everything together in his next start."

John Velazquez, who rode Pletcher's two Flash winners, More Than Ready and Chapel Royal, has the mount on Dubleo.

, trained by the country's leading trainer in wins, Steve Asmussen, might be the favorite.

In his only start, Primal Storm, a May foal, won at Churchill Downs on April 29 in a 4 1/2-furlong race. Under Shane Sellers, who will ride him in the Flash, Primal Storm set the pace and drew off in the stretch for a six-length win over a next-out winner. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 81.

Asmussen, who trains Primal Storm for his father, Keith, said there is only way to describe the colt. "He's a really fast horse," he said. "By name, the Flash is a good race for him."

Departing Now turned some heads with his maiden win in the slop at Keeneland April 22. A son of Wheaton, he won the 4 1/2-furlong race by 6 3/4 lengths and covered the distance in 52.00 seconds.

Trained by Rebecca Maker, Departing Now gets a rider switch to Pay Day.

Winning Expression, a New York-bred, won his debut in open company by five lengths at Belmont on May 6.

In his first start, Gold Joy finished second to the filly Chocolate Brown, who is among the favorites in Thursday's Fashion Stakes. Gold Joy came back and won a maiden race by 4 1/4 lengths.