NEW YORK - A jog around the racetrack was all trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. needed to see before declaring Big Brown back - and maybe better than before.

"He looks like an absolute picture," a delighted Dutrow said yesterday morning after his Triple Crown hopeful resumed training while continuing to heal from a slight crack on the inside of his left front hoof. "You would never think that he would look this good after what he's been through - running so often and shipping, flying. He just looks unbelievable."

The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner appears set for his attempt to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 in the Belmont Stakes on June 7.

With Dutrow re-energized after watching Big Brown move around the track for the first time since Friday, he was asked if the rest of the field is in trouble.

"As we are right now, I'd have to say yes, because I know our horse will be fixed, if not tomorrow, the next day," he said.

Dutrow said unbeaten Big Brown could have his final serious workout before the 1 1/2-mile Belmont as early as Sunday or as late as Wednesday, depending on the weather. *