05/06/2005 11:00PM

Three Chimneys: Half Ours all aces


For the third time in seven years, trainer Todd Pletcher sent out a fleet 2-year-old to capture the $120,000 on the Kentucky Derby undercard, this time on Saturday with Half Ours. Limehouse and More Than Ready, his two previous winners, both came back a year later to compete in the Kentucky Derby, and if Half Ours can make it, too, at the least Pletcher will know the colt can handle the pressure of Derby Day.

In only the second start of what could be a promising career, Half Ours broke sharply from the gate, turned back all challengers, and cruised to a 4 1/4-length victory to remain unbeaten. Five Star Holding was second and Beacon Shine third after breaking poorly.

Half Ours completed five furlongs in a stakes record 57.07 seconds, though it must be noted that the Churchill main track was playing much faster than par on Saturday.

Regardless, Half Ours ($3) showed both professionalism and speed, as he has done since he came to Pletcher's barn in March at Palm Meadows in Florida.

"The first couple of times we breezed him we went, 'Wow, that one can really run,'" Pletcher said.

Half Ours made his debut April 17 at Keeneland and whipped maidens by nearly 11 lengths while completing 4 1/2 furlongs in 51.60 seconds. As a result, he was sent off the 1-2 favorite on Saturday. John Velazquez has ridden him in both his races.

Half Ours, a son of Unbridled's Song, was purchased for $625,000 as a yearling by bloodstock agent Buzz Chace on behalf of owners Aaron and Marie Jones and Barry Schwartz.

Pletcher said Half Ours would join Pletcher's stable at Belmont Park and would compete in New York the rest of the year. Might he be back here for the Derby next year?

"Anything's possible," Pletcher said. "This has been a good race for us. Both colts who won it came back and ran in the Derby."