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Horse Racing: Lawyer Ron and Half Ours carry confidence in bid to land first Met for Pletcher; PREVIEW: US.

Byline: Dan Farley

Metropolitan Handicap Belmont Park G1 1m dirt

TRAINER Todd Pletcher sends out Lawyer Ron and Half Ours in search of his first victory in the Metropolitan.

"This is one of those races we haven't been able to win," Pletcher said. "We'll take another crack at it and hope to get lucky."

Luck may not be required, though. Lawyer Ron impressed when recording a commanding victory in the Oaklawn Handicap on April 7.

"He won his first start back this year going a one-turn mile at Gulfstream and he looked good doing it," said Pletcher.

"Obviously, this is a tougher group of horses, but the way he ran that day, he looks like he can do just about anything."

Furthermore, Lawyer Ron is unbeaten in his three starts over the Metropolitan distance and is partnered by Edgar Prado, who won last year's renewal with Silver Train.

Half Ours joined Pletcher after starting his career with Neil Drysdale. The four-year-old won his first five starts, but then encountered defeat when second to Wanderin Boy last time in the Grade 3 Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs over 1m1/2m.

"We left that race a little wide open," explained Pletcher. "We were worried about horses coming from off the pace and probably should have gone on with it and made more of an issue with pacesetter Wanderin Boy."

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens is represented by Corinthian. A top three-year-old last season, Corinthian has won two of his three starts this term, including the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap.

"I don't want him too far out of it early, unless they go a half in 44.20sec, or something like that," Jerkens said. "I don't want him too far out, where he'll get discouraged."

Last year's winning trainer Rick Dutrow jnr saddles both Silver Wagon and Mr Umphrey in his bid for a double.

Silver Wagon is a 7f specialist and can make his late run tell.

"I've got a lot of confidence Silver Wagon is going to run a big race," Dutrow jnr said.

Other key contenders in a field filled with talented performers include Latent Heat, a Grade 1 winner over 7f, and Sun King, just beaten by Horse of the Year Invasor at Saratoga last August.

Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile Hollywood Park G1 1m turf

KIP DEVILLE, who has developed into a top miler in recent months, faces a very tough field in the Shoemaker.

"He really likes that mile distance," said Chip Dutrow, assistant to his brother, trainer Rick Dutrow jnr.

Jockey Richard Migliore, formerly based in New York, added: "Kip Deville has been a strong influence on my career out here. He gave me my first win at Santa Anita, my first stakes win in California and my first Grade 1 in California in the Kilroe Mile."

Kip Deville won the Grade 2 Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland on his most recent start.

Among his foes is the remarkable The Tin Man. The nine-year-old counted the Arlington Million among his four wins last year.

Other leading contenders include Becrux, winner of the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile last season; the first three finishers in this year's Grade 2 San Francisco Mile, Chinese Dragon, Vega's Lord and Charmo; as well as last year's Shoemaker third and fourth, Fast And Furious and Willow O Wisp.

Gamely Breeders' Cup Stakes Hollywood Park G1 1m1f turf

CITRONNADE, trained by Bobby Frankel, is the one they all have to fear in this Grade 1.

"She should be undefeated on turf," said Frankel. "I messed up the time she got beat in the QEII Challenge Cup at Keeneland. There was miscom-munication beween myself and Edgar Prado. He got her behind horses and she didn't like it."

Frankel, who has won the Gamely six times, will also run Price Tag, winner of the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes on her US debut last November and an allowance winner at Santa Anita on her only start this season.

Set to face the Frankel pair is prolific winner Vacare, who beat Citronnade in the QEII Cup last October.

Vacare, unbeaten in five starts, won the Magna Distaff at Gulfstream Park in April on her sole start this term.

"The owners are from California, the distance is good for her and she likes firm turf," said Christophe Lorieul, assistant to trainer Christophe Clement.

Other runners include Three Degrees, third behind Citronnade at Santa Anita and runner-up to Price Tag in the Matriarch, and Charm The Giant, who won at Hollywood Park on April 25.

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Lawyer Ron: "looks like he can do almost anything"
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:May 28, 2007
Words:765
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