05/23/2007 12:00AM

Blue blood Harlington resumes career

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Eleanor Gustafson/Horsephotos
Harlington won the first two races of his career before wrenching an ankle while finishing sixth in the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds in February.

ELMONT, N.Y. - The on-again, off-again career of the talented Harlington is on again, as the regally bred 5-year-old son of champions Unbridled and Serena's Song returns to action Thursday in a money allowance race at 1 1/16 miles at Belmont Park.

Harlington, a $2.8 million auction purchase, won the first two races of his career before wrenching an ankle while finishing sixth in the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds in February 2005.

He returned to the races in early December that year, winning an allowance race at Aqueduct. In early 2006, Harlington won another allowance race at Gulfstream and the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap before reinjuring his ankle while finishing fourth behind the then-unheralded Invasor in the Grade 1 Pimlico Special last May.

"You look at his [past performances], he hasn't done a whole lot wrong,'' said Todd Pletcher, who trains Harlington for Eugene Melnyk. "He got hurt in the Risen Star."

Referring to Harlington's race in the Pimlico Special, Pletcher said: "We were a little disappointed at the time, but you look up and he's fourth to Invasor and he was wide that whole way. He's a quality horse, and we're looking forward to getting him going again.''

Harlington has worked 13 times since Feb. 8 when he began breezing at Melnyk's Winding Oaks Farm in Ocala, Fla. On Monday, he breezed five furlongs in 1:01.84 over Belmont's main track. John Velazquez rides Harlington from post 2.

Mustanfar, also a son of Unbridled, returns to the dirt for the first time in three years. Since finishing third to subsequent Grade 1 stakes winner Offlee Wild in a dirt allowance race here on May 14, 2004, Mustanfar has been running on turf, a surface on which he won the Grade 3 Sycamore Breeders' Cup in 2004 or, most recently, on Keeneland's Polytrack, where he finished third, beaten a head, in the Grade 3 Ben Ali.

"We'll probably go back to the Polytrack at Arlington or something, [but] we just decided to try him back on the dirt one time and see,'' trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. "This race came up tough with [Harlington], but he's in real good form, doing well. I wish it was a little farther, but that's okay, he's doing great.''

Fernando Jara rides Mustanfar from post 5.

Art Master makes his dirt debut after running exclusively on turf for Andre Fabre in France and then Bobby Frankel in the United States last year. He does show a bullet breeze in 59.80 seconds over Belmont's main track on May 15.

Chowder's First, Thanks Dubya, and Dark Cheetah complete the field.