10/06/2003 12:00AM

Fallen filly escapes tight spot


SAN MATEO, Calif. - When trainer Art Sherman dropped a claim on a 2-year-old filly named Snowbound Nan last Wednesday, he didn't know that he would get what he calls a "miracle horse" for $12,500.

Snowbound Nan fell during the running of her race and got lodged under the inner safety rail. An injection was prepared to euthanize her, but after track vet Dr. Robert Connolly was able to extricate her from under the rail, she not only got back on her feet but also walked back to her new home in Sherman's barn.

"I couldn't believe it," Sherman said. "I have an insurance policy to cover all my horses, including the ones I claim. After the spill, I was actually calling the insurance company to alert them that I would have to file a claim.

"You hate to see any horse go down any time, but I was really shaken up because this was the first horse I'd claimed for John Avila. We got outshook for a couple others."

Snowbound Nan was the odds-on favorite in the race. She stalked pacesetting Tomorrow's Affair into the lane when something happened nearing the sixteenth pole. She appeared to become disoriented, made a 90-degree turn, and was sideways across the track as she fell while backing straight toward the rail.

Jockey Roberto Gonzalez still isn't sure what happened to Snowbound Nan.

"I though maybe she had a heart attack," he said, which was the early consensus of many observers. But he told Dr. Connolly immediately after the accident that he heard a loud pop as well.

Dr. Connolly arrived on the scene quickly, discovered Gonzalez was unhurt, and turned his attention to the filly, who was cast under the safety rail with her hind legs firmly wedged into it.

He prepared a shot to put her down but saw no visible injury and decided to try to unwedge her, which took some time before she relaxed her hind legs. When he finally got her out from under the rail, he recognized she was tired from the stress and gave her time to rest before she bounded back to her feet.

While he is as mystified as everyone else as to what happened, Dr. Connolly said he thought the pop Gonzalez initially reported was either the joint in the filly's hip or stifle [similar to a knee] perhaps locking up. He also thinks that there may have been a pinched nerve.

Snowbound Nan needed eight stitches to repair a cut in a rear leg and hasn't yet returned to the track for training, Sherman said. He said after the stitches are removed, he will send her to a farm for a brief vacation but that she is likely to race again.

Surprized back from Del Mar

A competitive seven-horse field will meet in Wednesday's Bay Meadows feature, a $50,000 optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Surprized, winless since his stakes-winning 2-year-old campaign two years ago, might be the favorite because of his recent strong tries against better at Del Mar.

Tonco, 3 for 3 over the Longden Turf Course and the winner of two straight starts, steps up. Other entrants include New Advantage, second in all four of his starts over the course, including the past two at this level; Vallarta, who won an allowance race in his only start over the course; and I'm a Soccer Boy, who won the Trapper Seven at Emerald Downs in his last start

If the 3-year-old Tiz a Coup runs well, trainer Allen Severinsen might consider running him in the Grade 3 Bay Meadows Derby on Nov. 1. This will be Tiz a Coup's turf debut.

Owner Glen Nolan dies

A mass will be held Thursday at 10 a.m. at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Pleasanton for Glen D. Nolan, 83, a long-time northern California horse owner who died on Thursday. Nolan began racing Quarter Horses in 1950, and switched to Thoroughbreds in 1955. His best runner was stakes-winning Bushel Times, who later stood at stud at Nolan's ranch. Donations to the Alzheimer's Association of northern California are preferred.