01/31/2004 12:00AM

Offlee Wild seeking old glory

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Offlee Wild was hampered first by an infection, then by skin disease.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - A year ago, was the toast of the local 3-year-old division after upsetting a field that included eventual Eclipse Award winner Funny Cide in the Holy Bull Stakes. Offlee Wild returns to the scene of his most important victory Monday at Gulfstream Park to take on six rivals under second-level allowance conditions in quest of his first win since the Holy Bull.

Offlee Wild followed his game head decision in the Grade 3 Holy Bull by finishing fourth in the Fountain of Youth and third behind Peace Rules in the Blue Grass. Those efforts were good enough to earn him a spot in the Kentucky Derby, where he finished a nonthreatening 12th after encountering traffic problems.

Trainer T.V. Smith gave Offlee Wild more than four months off to recuperate from the trials and tribulations associated with the Kentucky Derby trail. A son of Wild Again, Offlee Wild failed to win in three starts once returning to action in mid-September.

"He was set back by a bacterial infection last spring," said Smith. "But when you get caught up in that Derby fever, it makes it hard to take the time you need. The infection took longer than we realized to get over, and once we got him going again he came down with skin disease."

Offlee Wild has worked three times since returning to familiar settings on the Gulfstream backstretch and will be reunited with jockey Mark Guidry, who rode him to victory in the 2003 Holy Bull.

Indy Dancer, another horse seeking to regain his best form after tailing off on the Triple Crown trail, will be among Offlee Wild's six rivals in Monday's main event. A late-striding son of A.P. Indy, he has had two starts since the Wood Memorial in April, including a fourth-place finish here under second-level allowance conditions on Jan. 14. He may be the one to beat with that race under his belt.

Both Indy Dancer and Offlee Wild figure to have plenty of pace to run at, with Senor Amigo expected to show the way from his inside post and both Robins Beauty and Stormy Ray not likely to be too far behind during the early going.

Senor Amigo was an easy winner of his first two starts but was a bit ambitiously placed stepping in against the likes of Puzzlement and Bowman's Band when he finished a tiring fifth in the Grade 3 Hal's Hope Handicap earlier in the meet. The return to allowance company and the two-turn experience he received in the Hal's Hope should make him a major player in this spot.