03/04/2007 1:00AM

Pletcher wins fifth Hutcheson in row


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Todd Pletcher continued his unprecedented dominance of the Hutcheson Stakes, winning the Grade 2, $150,000 dash for the fifth consecutive year with King of the Roxy's impressive 2 1/4-length victory over Bold Start on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

King of the Roxy joined Lion Tamer, Limehouse, Proud Accolade, and Keyed Entry as Pletcher trainees to have won the 7 1/2-furlong Hutcheson since 2003. John Velazquez had been aboard Pletcher's four previous Hutcheson winners. Edgar Prado rode King of the Roxy.

King of the Roxy won despite being forced to race wide throughout over a main track that had seemingly been favoring horses racing on or near the inner rail earlier in the day. A son of Littleexpectations, King of the Roxy joined the leaders, including stablemate Out of Gwedda, entering the stretch before gradually edging away in the final furlong. Bold Start, forced to steady along behind the leaders while saving ground around the turn, angled wide for clearance into the stretch and finished willingly to easily be second-best.

Forefathers broke poorly from the rail, steadied in traffic down the backstretch, then lost considerable ground around the turn and into the stretch. He ultimately finished a nonthreatening seventh as the 2-1 favorite in a field of nine 3-year-olds.

King of the Roxy paid $15.40 after covering the distance in 1:28.00 over a fast track.

"It's been a great streak," Pletcher said of his fifth consecutive Hutcheson victory. "He showed last year he was a quality horse but he wasn't seasoned enough when he ran in the Breeders' Cup."

King of the Roxy finished eighth in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

"We just backed off on him, and he's really filled out and matured physically since his last start. We figured this race was a great place to start out and have been pointing to it for a while."

Pletcher said he would talk to Barry Irwin, head of Team Valor Stables, before making a decision about King of the Roxy's next start.

"I think he's best in a one-turn situation, maybe up to a mile," said Pletcher. "He didn't appear to be done going 7 1/2 furlongs today, but whether he'll go a mile and a quarter I'm not sure."