02/14/2008 12:00AM

Ruff and Ready cruises


Ruff and Ready overcame his lack of experience to dominate Thursday's $75,000 Shotinthe-heart Stakes at Gulfstream, drawing off to an easy 5 3/4-length victory over the multiple Grade 2 winner and 8-5 favorite, Silver Tree, in the overnight stakes on the turf.

Ruff and Ready, a 6-year-old son of More Than Ready, had started just nine times before making his stakes debut in the 1 1/16-mile Shotintheheart. But under confident handling from jockey Eibar Coa, Ruff and Ready stalked the pace of Jet Propulsion, readily overtook that tiring leader leaving the final turn, and then drew off with complete authority.

Silver Tree raced within easy striking distance of the leaders and outfinished Presious Passion by a half-length to finish second, although no match for the winner.

Ruff and Ready, whose more experienced stablemate Icy Atlantic was one of two horses scratched from the race, covered the distance in 1:40.75 seconds over a good course and paid $7.60. Ruff and Ready is trained by Todd Pletcher for owners James Scatuorchio and Mark Hassenberg.

"He took to the soft going," said Coa. "I was a little worried about Silver Tree but, when we got to the eighth pole I knew Silver Tree would have to have been really running to come and get me."