10/13/2003 11:00PM

Bossanova is boss off recent Beyers

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ELMONT, N.Y. - After a good work at Saratoga on Tuesday morning, Bossanova was declared on target by trainer Jim Bond for Saturday's $125,000 Hudson Handicap at Belmont Park.

The six-furlong Hudson, one of seven New York-bred stakes here Saturday, will be Bossanova's first start since a scintillating performance in the Mike Lee Stakes, the first leg of Big Apple Triple, on June 28. Bossanova won the seven-furlong Mike Lee by 13 1/4 lengths and earned a 109 Beyer Speed Figure. In his start before the Mike Lee, Bossanova finished second to Posse in the Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs. Bossanova also earned a 109 Beyer in the Matt Winn.

After the Mike Lee, Bossanova had surgery to remove an ankle chip. Bond, who trains Bossanova for Rod and Lorraine Rodriguez, said the 3-year-old has trained well for his return. He said Bossanova worked three furlongs in 35.40 seconds on Tuesday.

"He has trained forwardly," Bond said from Saratoga after the work. "This morning he went as easy as he could and galloped out in49 2/5. He sure looks super."

Bossanova, who will be taking on older horses for the first time in the Hudson, will be the starting highweight at 118 pounds.

Papua, who was assigned highweight of 120 pounds for the Hudson, will skip the race, according to his trainer, Mike Hushion. Instead, Papua will be pointed to the $100,000 Fall Highweight Handicap at Aqueduct on Nov. 27.

Expected to join Bossanova in the Hudson are Impeachthepro (117); No Parole (117); Vodka (116); Handsome Gent (115); One N Three (115); Top Shoter (115); and Gratiaen (114).

Well Fancied topweight in Empire Classic

Well Fancied, the top older handicap horse among New York-breds, is the 124-pound highweight for Saturday's $250,000 Empire Classic, the feature of New York Showcase Day.

Last year, Well Fancied won the Hudson on the New York Showcase card. Richard

Dutrow Jr., who trains Well Fancied for Sanford Goldfarb and Stewart Hoffman, said he decided to run the gelding in the 1 1/8-mile Empire Classic after he won the 1 1/16-mile Evan Shipman by 4 1/2 lengths at Belmont on July 20. In his last start, Well Fancied won the seven-furlong General Douglas MacArthur by 5 1/2 lengths.

"Only because he ran so good in the [Evan Shipman], we wanted to run in the Empire Classic," Dutrow said. "Basically, this is a real good horse, who is really doing good right now. And I know he likes Belmont."

Edgar Prado will ride Well Fancied, who is 6 for 14 at Belmont.

Funny Cide, who is being pointed to the Breeders' Cup Classic, was declared from the Empire Classic and therefore not assigned a weight.

Well Fancied is expected to face the Empire Classic defending champion Gander (123); Private Emblem (120); Traffic Chief (117); Compelling World (115); Acceptable Venture (114); and Spite the Devil (114). Lord ofthe Thunder (118) is a possible starter, according to his trainer, Jennifer Pedersen.

Irish Colonial iffy for Mohawk

Irish Colonial, the 122-pound highweight for Saturday's $150,000 Mohawk Handicap, worked Tuesday at Belmont, but is not definite to start in the 1 1/8-mile turf race.

Trainer Randy Schulhofer said Irish Colonial covered a half-mile in 49 seconds. Irish Colonial hasn't raced since finishing seventh in the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap on June 7 because he needed time to recover from a popped splint.

"We've only had a few works and are a little behind with him," said Randy Schulhofer, Irish Colonial's trainer.

Schulhofer said he would make a decision by Thursday, the day entries are taken for the New York Showcase card.

The field is expected to include I'm All Yours (120); Statement (119); Quantum Merit (118); Celtic Sky (117); Haggs Castle (114); Salute Him (114); World of Wonder (114); Robbie's Rockin (113); and Golden Commander (110). A few others are on the fence, according to the racing office.

Fait Accompli out, Queen's Triomphe in

Trainer Tom Bush lost a starter, Fait Accompli, for the New York Showcase, but picked up another in Queen's Triomphe, who is nominated to the $150,000 Ticonderoga and the $125,000 Iroquois.

Fait Accompli, the runner-up in the Joseph A. Gimma Stakes last month, will miss Saturday's $100,000 Maid of the Mist because of an injury to her right eye. The 2-year-old filly was struck by a pebble or a rock during the running of the Gimma, according to Bush.

"She spent five days at the clinic at New Bolton," Bush said. "It was a serious ulcer and she's been on antibiotics that are going through a catheter, under her eye lid. We should be able to take out the catheter [Tuesday]."

Bush said he is leaning toward running Queen's Triomphe, who he recently began training, in the 1 1/8-mile Ticonderoga, rather than the seven-furlong Iroquois. Queen's Triomphe won three allowance races on the dirt at Fort Erie and one at Finger Lakes this year.

"She needs the distance of the Ticonderoga," Bush said. "But I would like the turf to be as firm as we can get."

Chilly Rooster one to beat

A second-level allowance race for 3-year-olds and older horses is the feature on Thursday.

The $50,000 allowance race drew six runners, including the Todd Pletcher-trained entry of Volkonsky and Admiralty Arch. John Velazquez is named on both of Pletcher's horses, so only one can start.

The Allen Jerkens-trained Chilly Rooster looks like the horse to beat. Chilly Rooster was an easy winner of an allowance race here in the spring at 1 1/16 miles, the distance of Thursday's race.

Apprentice Shannon Uske rides Chilly Rooster from the rail.