Well Fancied's Bold Move Saves Hudson Win

Well Fancied carried John Velazquez through a narrow opening on the rail Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park to capture the $125,000 Hudson Handicap for New York-breds at six furlongs.

While the 4-year-old Prosper Fager gelding had a fondness for Belmont, his record here of 2-2-3 from eight starts entering the Hudson showed that he also had some tough luck.

He wasn't exactly in an ideal spot, but daylight opened on the rail at the right time and Well Fancied, who had been saving ground behind a pace of :22; and :45 1/5, squeezed through. He held off Tom's Thunder for the one-length victory in 1:09 4/5.

The crowd favorite, Well Fancied returned $4.70 to win.

"The only way I saw him getting beat today was the trip - and that almost happened," said trainer Richard Dutrow Jr.. "He's really come together for us. This horse is really moving forward and a lot of these horses aren't as good as they have been. You could see he was in really tight at the rail, but he didn't care. He wanted to win. He's been beat a couple of close ones; today he showed he really wants to win. We got lucky to get through."

It was a daring ride by Velazquez, who halted Jose Santos' three-race win streak on Saturday with the Hudson victory.

"We actually had a pretty good trip in behind horses," Velazquez said. "The problem was no hole opened up until we were in mid stretch. There was a little room on the rail, and I went for it. Things were a little tight. We got bumped around - he actually hit the rail - and it knocked his confidence and mine, too. I squeezed him again, and he had an extra gear and got through."

Well Fancied won for the sixth time in 18 starts and upped his career earnings total to about $290,000.

Vodka was nosed for the place by Tom' Thunder, and Say Florida Sandy, the leading New York-bred money earner of all time, rallied but was fourth.

(Chart, Equibase)