03/22/2005 1:00AM

Well Fancied gets back in action


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Fresh off another winter meet training title, Richard Dutrow Jr. gets one of his most reliable campaigners back to the races when Well Fancied runs in Thursday's six-furlong feature.

A multiple stakes winner who has been sidelined since finishing eighth in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap last April, Well Fancied drew the outside post in a salty field of six older males, including, from the rail out, Dashboard Drummer, War's Prospect, Spooky Mulder, Ironton, and Albert E.

carries high weight of 124 pounds in this $54,000 allowance optional claimer. Spooky Mulder and Albert E. were entered for the $85,000 claiming price.

Well Fancied was sidelined last spring by a knee injury, but did not require surgery. This year he had been training in Florida for a defense of the General George Handicap title he won last year, but he injured his hind end two weeks before the race.

Dutrow said Well Fancied is ready to run.

"He's as good as he's ever been," said Dutrow of Well Fancied, a New York-bred gelding who is now 7. "We're very happy to be in this position and very lucky to be in this position where we can run him again."

Well Fancied swept the 2003 runnings of the Evan Shipman, General Douglas MacArthur, and Empire Classic, and has those New York-bred races as his major objectives once again. Well Fancied has been at his best from seven furlongs to 1 1/16 miles, but has won five times at Thursday's six-furlong distance. Before shipping back to New York last week, Well Fancied put in a pair of bullet workouts at Palm Meadows.

With the exception of , who ran through the winter, the others in the race are fairly fresh as well, though none have been laid off for as long as Well Fancied.

ran 10 times as a 3-year-old last year and has been freshened since a last-place finish at Gulfstream two months ago. His last start on dirt was a third behind multiple stakes winner Midas Eyes at Saratoga.

War's Prospect is a three-time stakes winner on the New Jersey circuit. A 4-year-old, he has trained sharply at Philadelphia Park for his first start since back-to-back wins last August.

Spooky Mulder and Ironton each make their second start back from a layoff. Spooky Mulder is a 19-time winner and is quite familiar to New York bettors. He has won twice on Aqueduct's main track, and earned a 116 Beyer two seasons back.

- additional reporting by David Grening