09/08/2004 12:00AM

Eurosilver almost ready for return


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Eurosilver, the standout colt sidelined since March, could show up in the entries within the next few weeks after having a half-mile workout Sunday at Churchill Downs.

Eurosilver breezed a half-mile in 48.40 seconds, a move trainer Carl Nafzger said was his first workout at Churchill but "about his fourth" since returning to serious training this summer from a lingering illness. Eurosilver had been based at the Skylight Training Center, located about 25 miles east of Churchill, until last week, said Nafzger.

"I can't say where he'll run, because that wouldn't be right," said Nafzger. "But he is doing good. He really started coming around over at Skylight, and now I'm going to keep him at Churchill the rest of the fall."

Eurosilver, who is owned by Buckram Oak Farm, could resurface this fall as a player in the 3-year-old division, one that now has his former stablemate, Birdstone, as the leader after the retirement of Smarty Jones. Eurosilver had been trained by Nick Zito, the trainer of Birdstone, until Buckram Oak owner Mahmoud Fustok transferred Eurosilver to Nafzger in May.

Eurosilver was an easy winner of the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland last fall and was one of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby before he came down with a mysterious infection.

Mayo on the Side set for Turfway BC

Nafzger said his Grade 1-winning mare Mayo on the Side will definitely run Sept. 18 in the $175,000 Turfway Park Breeders' Cup.

Nominations were scheduled for release this weekend for the Turfway BC and the four other Kentucky Cup stakes that will be run next Saturday at Turfway.

The signature event of the Kentucky Cup is the Grade 2, $350,000 Classic, a 1 1/8-mile race expected to get Whitney Handicap winner Roses in May. Total purses for the five Kentucky Cup races amount to $825,000.

Weekend Delight leads off

The first stakes of the 22-day Turfway fall meet, the $75,000 Weekend Delight, is expected to get about seven or eight fillies and mares for its 16th running Saturday.

Among those Turfway officials expect for the race are Feather Maraine, Golden Marlin, Moonlit Romance, Put Me In, Silver Crown, Star of Atticus, That's Our Tricky, and There Runs Hattie.

With Rafael Bejarano to ride, Golden Marlin, trained by Greg Foley, is one of the obvious favorites for the six-furlong Weekend Delight.

New attractions give Friday a boost

Turfway president Bob Elliston enjoys Friday nights in the fall as much as anyone. Elliston can almost always be spotted among the youthful crowd that gathers in the Corona Cantina on the Turfway apron.

"Friday nights at Turfway have really caught on with the young crowd in this area," said Elliston. "The $1 beer and hot dogs are big attractions, and so is the live music, but the weather at this time of year is so nice that people just love to come out and have a good time."

Elliston said Friday nights last fall showed a 52 percent increase in ontrack handle compared to Friday nights at the preceding winter-spring meet.

Wehrman pleased with Cradle

Randy Wehrman, who serves as stakes coordinator at River Downs and Turfway, was still glowing this week in the aftermath of the Cradle Stakes, the River showcase that had three promising 2-year-olds sweep the top three spots Monday: Bellamy Road, Diamond Isle, and Scipion.

"Everybody at River was really happy about how the race turned out," said Wehrman. "Hopefully we'll have some great races here at Turfway for the Kentucky Cup, too."

Churchill picks up more space

Churchill Downs Inc. has been quietly buying houses and businesses adjacent to its flagship track in Louisville in recent months. Published real-estate transactions show the track has bought 11 neighboring properties within the last year. Track officials say their intent is to use the new space for parking and other needs stemming from the ongoing $121 million renovation.