11/06/2007 12:00AM

Gone Overboard returning from layoff

EmailLOUISVILLE, Ky. - It was Lynn Whiting who once said about all the traveling that racetrack life requires: "I can't wait to get there, I love being there, and I can't wait to leave."

This nomadic lifestyle applies to the way many horsemen exist, and Ralph Nicks counts himself among that group. Nicks grew up traveling around the southwest with his father, trainer Morris Nicks, and with a little more than two weeks remaining at the 2007 Churchill Downs fall meet, the younger Nicks already has an eye peeled toward his next destination.

"I'm going to the Fair Grounds with everything this winter," Nicks said. "Last year, I split between Gulfstream and Fair Grounds, but the money's a little better in New Orleans this time around, and besides I don't want to have to run against Todd Pletcher and Bill Mott all winter."

Before heading south, however, Nicks, like everyone else, would prefer to collect some of that shipping money Churchill is paying out this fall. Nicks will send out one of the more promising runners in his 32-horse stable, a turf filly named Gone Overboard, in the Thursday feature at Churchill, an entry-level one-mile allowance with a $50,000 purse.

Gone Overboard, a 4-year-old Gone West filly bred and owned by John Chandler, won a maiden turf route at Gulfstream in February and has resurfaced only twice since. She wheeled back a month later to finish a creditable sixth in a typically tough Gulfstream allowance, and nearly seven months later, she was second at Arlington.

Nicks called the Arlington race "a good one off the layoff" and predicted that "she'll be ready" Thursday, even when returning from another layoff of more than two months.

If Gone Overboard isn't ready, then maybe R Vicarious Girl will be. Moved recently by owner Richard Averill into the barn of Steve Margolis, R Vicarious Girl finished second in back-to-back allowances at Del Mar this summer, and those efforts are enough to make her a major contender in the ninth of 10 Thursday races.

Other viable possibilities include Pola's Place, stretching out from six furlongs with some of the best Beyer Speed Figures in this field, and either half of an uncoupled Dale Romans entry, Princess Westly and Philips Pride.