02/17/2005 12:00AM

Offlee long layoff

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Chip Bott/CB Photography
Offlee Wild has not raced since winning the Grade 2 Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs in June.

Offlee Wild, a Grade 2 stakes winner in his most recent start, and Ole Faunty, the winner of last year's John B. Campbell Handicap, are the most accomplished horses in Saturday's $125,000 Campbell at Laurel Park. The 1 1/8-mile Campbell, which goes as race 9, is also the first leg of the Magna 5.

Despite solid credentials, Offlee Wild and Ole Faunty both have the same flaw. Neither one has raced in more than seven months.

has been idle since winning the Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs last June. Ole Faunty, who earned a career-best 109 Beyer Speed Figure winning last year's Campbell, hasn't raced since July 3 at Prairie Meadows.

So it's strictly a guessing game whether either horse will fire first time back off a long layoff. Based on trainer stats, Offlee Wild is more likely to be ready. His trainer, Richard Dutrow Jr., has won with 31 percent of his horses coming off layoffs of greater than 180 days the past two seasons. In contrast, Elliott Walden, who trains Ole Faunty, is 0 for 18 in the same category.

The Todd Pletcher-trained Coast Line is a viable alternative. Coast Line looms as the lone speed and comes into the race off four consecutive victories in New York, but has yet to test stakes company. John Velazquez, who has ridden Coast Line to two victories, will be in from Florida for the mount.

Another New York shipper, Hydrogen, posted a 105 Beyer finishing second in a minor stakes at Delaware Park last fall coming off a two-month layoff. He has been similarly freshened since setting the pace and tiring late in the Gallant Fox Handicap at 1 5/8 miles.

Jim Thirds Bolero and Little Matth Man, who finished a nose apart as the one-two finishers in last month's Native Dancer at Pimlico, face each other again.

Jim Thirds Bolero, 2 for 3 lifetime at Laurel, will be seeking his third win in a row. Little Matth Man, an also-ran in last year's Wood Memorial and Preakness, appears to be rounding into top form after being off from last May to December.