09/05/2002 11:00PM

Well Fancied wins MacArthur


ELMONT, N.Y. - Say Florida Sandy failed in his bid to win the General Douglas MacArthur Handicap for a third time when he finished sixth as the even-money favorite in Friday's opening-day feature at the Belmont Park fall meet.

Well Fancied was the 4 1/4-length winner of the restricted MacArthur.

Before a crowd of 4,715 on a beautiful late-summer afternoon, Say Florida Sandy, ridden by Aaron Gryder, had no punch during the stretch run and finished more than 10 lengths behind Well Fancied. Chasin' Wimmin was second and Impeachthepro was third, three-quarters of a length behind the runner-up in the 10-horse field.

Say Florida Sandy, who is closing in on $2 million in earnings, was burdened with 125 pounds in the seven-furlong MacArthur, nine pounds more than Well Fancied.

Say Florida Sandy's owner, John Rotella, said his 8-year-old might have been feeling the effects of the heavy package.

"The weight was probably too much," Rotella said.

Well Fancied ($16.60) was ridden by John Velazquez. The winner covered the distance in 1:22.00 over a track labeled fast.

It was the first stakes win for Well Fancied, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Stewart Hoffman and Sanford Goldfarb and trained by Richard Dutrow Jr.

Dutrow said that Well Fancied will run back in the $125,000 Hudson Handicap on New York Showcase Day on Oct. 19.

Friday was the first of 33 days of racing at the Belmont Park fell meet. The MacArthur was the first of 38 stakes scheduled to be run at the meet.