02/21/2010 1:00AM

Starfish Bay wins Ladies Turf in record time


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - After winning three Kentucky Derby preps Saturday, including the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, what could trainer Todd Pletcher do for an encore? Just run one-two in Sunday's at Gulfstream Park with Starfish Bay and West Ocean while setting a new course record in the process.

Starfish Bay led throughout under jockey Chris DeCarlo to win the five-furlong Turf Sprint by 2 3/4 lengths over her uncoupled stablemate. Life Lesson finished 1 1/2 lengths further back in third. Starfish Bay, a 4-year-old daughter of Elusive Quality, covered the distance in 53.75 seconds, shaving 0.04 of a second off the previous standard set by Procreate in April 2005.

Starfish Bay paid $8.60.

"The course is fast, and she's a very fast filly," said Pletcher who trains Starfish Bay for the Gainesway Stable. "She had a bit of a layoff, after developing a lung infection following her last start. We had trouble clearing it up, so we sent her to the farm for a while. It was just a matter of finding her specialty and this [turf sprinting] appears to be it."

Pletcher also was pleased with the way West Ocean ran after breaking from the extreme outside in a field of nine fillies and mares.

"She had a tough post but closed well," Pletcher said. "It was a good race for both fillies."

Pletcher said he's uncertain where Starfish Bay would run next but cited turf sprints at Keeneland and Churchill Downs during the spring as possible options.