06/18/2006 11:00PM

Court Folly gets class relief


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Six months since Carl Nafzger unofficially passed the training torch to his longtime assistant, Ian Wilkes, their shared operation has continued to hum along smoothly.

Nafzger still runs the occasional horse in his name, and through last weekend he had 9 wins from 48 starts this year. The bulk of Nafzger's top horses, however, are now competing under the name of Wilkes, who was 20 for 100 through the weekend.

"It's been a good year so far, touch wood," Wilkes said Monday.

Wilkes and his wife, Tracey, have been an integral part of the Nafzger operation since 1989, the year before Nafzger won the Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic with Unbridled and the Eclipse Award for top trainer. As Nafzger, 64, has begun to phase himself out of the business - it must be noted that he remains active by overseeing one of the combined operation's strings of horses at the Skylight training center east of Louisville - the daily care of the better horses at Churchill has fallen to Wilkes.

Humorous Gal and Atlas Valley are among those stable stars, as is Court Folly, a 3-year-old who is one of eight horses entered in the Wednesday

feature at Churchill, a $58,000 second-level allowance at 6 1/2 furlongs. In his last start, the May 20 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill, Court Folly was a jump or two short of catching Changing Weather.

"It was a tremendous run," said Wilkes. "He ran a winning race. The only thing he didn't get was the head-bob. He has a real good punch."

has two wins, two seconds, and two thirds from nine starts. He was third in the Grade 2 Swale Stakes in early March, then finished last in the Blue Grass Stakes. His lone subsequent race was the Matt Winn.

"He's been so honest," said Wilkes. "Except for the Blue Grass. He just doesn't want to go two turns, I don't believe."

Wilkes said he is hoping the presence of several speed horses, including , will help Court Folly to come rolling Wednesday.

"Sometimes when it looks like there's a lot of speed in a race, they all jump out and look at each other," he said. "Hopefully not in here."

The Wednesday feature is the eighth race on a nine-race card. First post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.