11/14/2006 1:00AM

Hunky Dory finally ready

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - Everything is hunky dory with Hunky Dory, which means trainer Bruce Dillenbeck has his hands full.

Hunky Dory, a talented but headstrong and rambunctious mare, is ready to make her return to the races in Thursday's Bay Meadows feature, a $40,000 starter allowance for fillies and mares at 5 1/2 furlongs. She will face six rivals as she makes her first start since Aug. 5, 2005.

"She's very unique," said Dillenbeck, who owns and trains the 5-year-old homebred daughter of Corslew.

Unique is a nice way of putting it. Another way is what is written on her feed tub: "The Little Monster."

"She's a real handful," Dillenbeck said. "When you walk her, you need to use a lip shank. You have to walk her by hand, you can't put her on a walker. She's a high-spirited horse. She's got that Corslew mentality. She's no kid's horse to handle."

Hunky Dory won her debut on Feb. 16, 2004, then went to the sidelines for more than a year. She ran three times in 2005 and had excuses each time, first when she was left in the gate, then when she bolted on the first turn in her turf and route debut. She came back from her third start with a fractured shin and chip in her ankle.

After successful surgery, Hunky Dory returned to Dillenbeck's barn but bled during training. He waited before trying to take her to the track, and the patience seems to have paid off.

She has worked steadily and is ready to return to the races.

Thursday's assignment will be a difficult one for Hunky Dory, who meets four last-out maiden victors.

Losin at Love, claimed this past summer at Del Mar in her lone race for a tag, just beat straight maidens here. Whatabeautifulday takes a big step up after being claimed from a $12,500 maiden race. She Call First won for a $12,500 tag at Fresno. Jorja's Strait is also stepping up off a wire-to-wire $10,000 maiden claiming win at Emerald Downs.

Meet Me in Fargo set the pace before fading to fourth against similar last time when coming off a 13-length win.

All Candy is only 1 for 30 but has earned $103,899 while hitting the board 16 other times.