05/27/2005 11:00PM

Splendid Blended part of strong Acorn lineup


ELMONT, N.Y. - Sweet Catomine is retired. Summerly is in quarantine. Sis City is on vacation until midsummer. Despite the absence of that trio of 3-year-old fillies, next Saturday's Grade 1 Acorn at Belmont Park is attracting a strong field.

Splendid Blended, a Grade 1 stakes winner at 2, is slated to make her 3-year-old debut in the $250,000 Acorn. Also making her first start of the year in the one-mile race is Sense of Style, another Grade 1 winner from 2004. Others pointing to the race are Seek a Star and Round Pond, both winners of three straight races; Seeking the Ante, the Nassau County winner; In the Gold, the Kentucky Oaks runner-up; and Smuggler.

Despite the suspected case of strangles on the Belmont backstretch, trainers John Servis (Round Pond) and John Ward (Seek a Star) told stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes they still intend to come.

Neil Drysdale, trainer of Splendid Blended, said Saturday he plans to ship his filly from Southern California on Tuesday. Splendid Blended is scheduled to breeze Monday at Hollywood Park.

Splendid Blended went 3 for 4 at 2, including a victory in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet. Her only loss came to Sweet Catomine, who won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and was crowned the 2-year-old filly champion.

Drysdale said he was considering running Splendid Blended in the Fair Grounds Oaks in early March as a prep for the Kentucky Oaks. But Splendid Blended incurred a setback, which eliminated the spring races.

"We had a little setback with her, now she's fine," Drysdale said.

Drysdale said Splendid Blended missed a little training time.

"She's trained well, she looks well, she's stronger, she's put on weight, and she has done well from 2 to 3, which is always a good sign," Drysdale said.

Well Fancied retired

Well Fancied, the champion New York-bred sprinter of 2004, has been retired, trainer Richard Dutrow said Saturday.

Well Fancied, who had a history of infirmities, did not cool out well from a Friday workout at Aqueduct, Dutrow said.

"We got real lucky to retire him the way we did," Dutrow said. "He's going to live a good life. We're looking for a very good home for him. People are going to be interviewed in order to take him home."

Well Fancied, a 7-year-old gelded son of Prosper Fager, won 12 of 32 career starts and earned $848,776. He won seven stakes, including the Grade 2 General George Handicap and Grade 3 Toboggan Handicap in 2004. He was injured after running eighth in the Carter Handicap, and was away from the races for 11 months. He had a pair of second-place finishes in allowance races in New York this year.

Well Fancied's other stakes wins include the General Douglas MacArthur and Hudson handicaps in 2002, and the Evan Shipman, MacArthur Handicap, and Empire Classic in 2003.

Dutrow starts suspension Wednesday

Dutrow begins serving a 60-day suspension on Wednesday as the result of two medication positives dating back two years. Dutrow said that Juan Rodriguez, a longtime employee of the Dutrow family, would run the New York shed row in his absence.

"He told me he's looking to claim and move horses up," Dutrow joked. "I'm confident, unless a problem comes up with a horse, things will go smoothly."

Saint Liam is being pointed to the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 18, while Sis City, who finished fourth as the favorite in the Kentucky Oaks, is being pointed to the Delaware Oaks at Delaware Park on July 16.

Saint Liam worked six furlongs in 1:12.77 on Friday.

* Badge of Silver, scratched from the Pimlico Special because of the track condition, worked five furlongs in 58.69 seconds on Saturday morning. Trainer Bobby Frankel said Badge of Silver will likely make his next start in the Foster.