09/04/2003 11:00PM

Well Fancied repeats in MacArthur


ELMONT, N.Y. - Well Fancied swept by Gratiaen in midstretch to win Friday's $109,600 General Douglas MacArthur Handicap, the opening-day feature of the Belmont fall meet, by 5 1/2 lengths.

A crowd of 5,475 attended the 38-day meet's first day of racing, which was conducted in ideal weather.

Well Fancied, the 2-5 favorite ridden by Edgar Prado, won the MacArthur for the second year in a row.

Well Fancied raced in second position behind Gratiaen, who carved out fractions of 22.64 seconds, 45.30, and 1:09.40. Well Fancied, the 123-pound highweight, sailed by Gratiaen in the final furlong of the seven-furlong New York-bred race.

Gratiaen finished second, 3 1/2 lengths clear of Spite the Devil in third.

Well Fancied ($2.80) covered the distance in 1:21.42 over a fast track.

Richard Dutrow Jr. trains Well Fancied for Sanford Goldfarb, Stewart Hoffman, and Jonathan Flesig.

Well Fancied, a 5-year-old gelding, was making his first start since winning the restricted Evan Shipman by 4 1/2 lengths at Belmont on July 20. Dutrow said the son of Prosper Fager would be pointed to the $250,000 Empire Classic, a 1 1/8-mile race on the New York Showcase card on Oct. 18. Last year on Showcase Day, Well Fancied won the $125,000 Hudson, a six-furlong race.

Jerome may be next for Qais

Trainer Tom Albertrani hasn't mapped out any definite plans for Qais, who destroyed a second-level allowance field at Saratoga on Aug. 30. Qais, owned by Godolphin Stable, won the seven-furlong race by nine lengths and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 113, a number that is among the highest in the country this year for any 3-year-old.

Qais, a half-brother to the undefeated European champion Lammtarra, is nominated to Saturday's $150,000 Jerome Handicap for 3-year-olds.

"The Jerome is a possibility but may come up quicker than we want," Albertrani said. "We were very impressed with his last race, but we don't want to rush into anything with him. If we take our time, he can develop into a nice colt."

Albertrani said the $100,000 Discovery Handicap, a race for 3-year-olds on opening day at Aqueduct on Oct. 29, is a possible target for Qais.

Another Godolphin nominee to the Grade 2 Jerome is Inamorato, who won a 1 1/8-mile, second-level allowance race by 3 1/4 lengths at Saratoga on Aug. 24.

Inamorato, who finished third in the United Arab Emirates Derby at Nad al Sheba in March, lost two races in this country before gaining his first American win. Both of his losses came over wet tracks. Inamorato's recent victory came on a fast surface and with blinkers on.

"I think the combination of both the [fast] track and blinkers had a lot to do with the improved performance," Albertrani said. "He never looked like he was picking up his feet on the wet tracks."

If Inamorato doesn't run in the Jerome, he could run in the $500,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 20. Godolphin has done well in the Super Derby, winning the race last year with Essence of Dubai and finishing second in 2001 with E Dubai.

Joe Bear to ship in for Jamaica

Joe Bear, the runner-up in the Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington Park on Aug. 16, will ship to New York from England to run in the $200,000 Jamaica Handicap on Sept. 21. Joe Bear was beaten 3 1/2 lengths by Kicken Kris in the Secretariat.

Philip Mitchell, Joe Bear's trainer, said the 3-year-old son of Peintre Celebre would arrive in New York on Sept. 13.

The plan for Joe Bear after the Jamaica is the $150,000 Lawrence Realization Handicap on Oct. 11.

"We definitely had been planning on the [Lawrence Realization], but we felt the opportunities in England weren't realistic for him, so we decided to bring him sooner," Mitchell said. "We think he is a little bit special. In the Secretariat, he ran a huge race but got a little bit unlucky and was blocked."

Joe Bear returned to Mitchell's barn at Epsom Downs in England the day after the Secretariat.

Mitchell said that David Flores, who rode Joe Bear in the Secretariat, accepted the mount for the Jamaica.

Mitchell enjoyed quite bit of success in the United States a few years ago with Running Stag, who shipped here from England and won the 1999 Brooklyn and Saratoga Breeders' Cup and the 2000 Massachusetts Handicap.

Arroyo almost ready to ride again

Jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. should be ready to ride in races in about three weeks, according to his agent, John Kolb.

The rider was injured when his mount, Exotic Angel, dumped him after the finish line in a race here June 15. Arroyo suffered two small fractures in the middle of his back and another small fracture of the C-7 vertebra in the lower part of his neck.

The rider is undergoing physical therapy and should be ready to begin galloping horses soon.

"He's getting in shape so he will be race ready," Kolb said. "He's done a lot of electro stimulus therapy and stretching exercises. He's feeling ready to go, but he just wants to have his physical therapist give him the okay."