07/01/2005 12:00AM

Reason to back Fast and Furious


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Fast and Furious, the source of a year's worth of frustration and expectations for owner Arnold Zetcher and trainer Ron McAnally, may finally score his first stakes win in the United States in Sunday's $250,000 American Handicap at Hollywood Park.

Plagued with occasional foot problems in the last year, Fast and Furious has been limited to three starts since arriving from France last summer. But a third in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile here May 30 gives McAnally optimism that Fast and Furious can be effective in the Grade 2 American, run over 1 1/8 miles on turf.

"It was obvious that he needed that mile," McAnally said. "In his comeback, I didn't want to run him too far. We're hoping he can put it together. You can have the best horse in the world, but if you can't run them, they're not good to you. It's a tough game."

, who has run two outstanding races on turf at this meeting. Trained by Neil Drysdale, King of Happiness won the Grade 3 Inglewood Handicap over 1 1/16 miles April 30 and was second by a half-length to Castledale in the Shoemaker Mile.

"He's coming along really well," Drysdale said. "I said before, I think he's better than he was last year."

The distance may test King of Happiness's stamina, Drysdale said.

"We think his best distance is a mile, but hopefully he can get nine furlongs," he said.

Drysdale also starts Fourty Niners Son, who is making his stakes debut. Fourty Niners Son is unbeaten in three starts this year, all in allowance races.

"He seems to be an improving horse," Drysdale said.

The American Handicap drew nine runners. Bobby Frankel starts Qsar, a stakes winner in Germany last September who is trying for his fifth consecutive win. Qsar won an optional claimer in his U.S. debut May 29.

The pacesetter may be Whilly, the winner of the Sir Beaufort and San Marcos stakes at the Santa Anita winter meeting.

Whilly has made two subsequent starts, finishing a game second to the Australian star Elvstroem in the $2 million Dubai Duty Free in the Middle East on March 26 and fifth in the Shoemaker Mile.

Trainer Doug O'Neill said he thought Whilly was too close to a fast pace in the Shoemaker.

"Sometimes, in the mile and an eighth races, you get a more realistic pace," O'Neill said.

The field

American Handicap
Purse: $250,000; 1 1/8 miles, turf; Grade 2

1WhillyF. Martinez11720-1
2King of HappinessP. Valenzuela1205-2
3He's CraftyR. Douglas1138-1
4SigintG. Gomez11212-1
5Fourty Niners SonJ. Bailey1154-1
6Fast and FuriousV. Espinoza1196-1
7Laura's Lucky BoyC. Nakatani1168-1
8CapitanoJ. Court11512-1
9QsarJ. Velazquez1123-1

* Odds by Art Gropper