02/16/2004 1:00AM

Well Fancied, all the way

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Well Fancied ($8) wins the $200,000 General George Handicap at Laurel Park on Monday.

Well Fancied led every step of the way to win Monday's $200,000 General George Handicap at Laurel Park by a length over Unforgettable Max. Badge of Silver, the 3-5 favorite, finished fifth in the nine-horse field.

Well Fancied capped a big weekend for New York-breds by winning the Grade 2 General George. On Saturday at Gulfstream Park, New York-bred Read the Footnotes won the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes.

Ridden by Edgar Prado, Well Fancied set the pace in the seven-furlong General George and posted fractions of 22.71 seconds, 45.58, and 1:10.19, on his way to a final time of 1:22.49 over a fast track. Well Fancied returned $8.

Badge of Silver, who was making his second start after winning his first race after a long layoff Jan. 23 at the Fair Grounds, raced in second behind Well Fancied down the backstretch. At the top of the stretch the field was bunched, but Well Fancied was still moving strongly and began to edge away in the final furlong. Badge of Silver came up empty through the lane and was beaten 2 1/2 lengths by Well Fancied.

Robby Albarado, Badge of Silver's rider, said, "It felt as if he was going to give me what I wanted, but then he just ran a minimal race. This is a nice horse, and it just wasn't his day."

Gators N Bears finished third, three-quarters of a length behind Unforgettable Max. Peeping Tom, the 2001 General George winner, finished fourth.

Well Fancied, a 6-year-old gelding, is trained by Richard Dutrow Jr. and owned by Sanford Goldfarb and Stewart Hoffman.

Well Fancied, the favorite among New York-breds to win the 2003 older horse championship, won three restricted stakes in New York last year: the Empire Classic, General Douglas MacArthur, and Evan Shipman.

"This horse can do anything," Dutrow said. "He can come from behind. He can go to the front. [Prado] just let him place himself, and he was just doing it naturally. We took a shot at bringing him here, and it worked out."

Arroyo gets 15-day suspension

The Laurel Park stewards suspended jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. for 15 Maryland racing days for his ride on Rogue Agent in Saturday's $150,000 John B. Campbell.

Arroyo came over on Evening Attire, who was ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, when Evening Attire moved into a tight spot on the rail during the stretch run. Evening Attire slammed into the rail and nearly fell but quickly regained his footing to finish third. The stewards disqualified Rogue Agent to third, placing Evening Attire second behind the winner, Ole Faunty.

Arroyo will begin serving the suspension, which will be honored by other racing jurisdictions under the reciprocity rule, Feb. 19 through March 11.