11/12/2007 12:00AM

Honors, schmonors. Got a winner?

EmailLOUISVILLE, Ky. - Nobody planned it that way, but Carl Nafzger has been on something strongly resembling a farewell tour.

The 66-year-old trainer of two Kentucky Derby winners has been honored three times in the last few weeks. Last month he was inducted into the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame in San Antonio. Then he was inducted into the Professional Bull Riders' Ring of Honor on Nov. 4 in Las Vegas. And on Saturday night, Nafzger was bestowed with the Warner L. Jones Jr. Horseman of the Year Award by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners at Churchill Downs.

No one could argue that the awards blitz is justified and perhaps long overdue, but when Nafzger walks out of the Churchill paddock for the ninth race on Wednesday, hard-bitten horseplayers might want to know whether he can do something for them lately. More specifically: Hey, Carl, are you going to win the feature race with Windyindy?

Form says he certainly can win. With the top last-race Beyer Speed Figure of 84 in a field of eight fillies and mares, and with her last two races being the best of her 10-race career, Windyindy stands an excellent chance to make a small contribution to her trainer's ever-growing list of accolades. Just like Street Sense, who in May became Nafzger's second Derby winner, along with Unbridled in 1990, Windyindy was bred and is owned by Jim Tafel and will be ridden by Calvin Borel.

First-level allowance conditions govern the Wednesday feature, which carries a $50,000 purse and will be run at one mile out of the chute on the main track. While Windyindy, who will break from post 3, figures as a solid favorite, a few others appear capable of giving her a good fight.

Aspiring, out of post 8, with Shaun Bridgmohan to ride, looks the best of those. Although winless since capturing a Turfway Park maiden race nearly 14 months ago, the Seeking the Gold filly has faced formidable company, having started in four stakes among her six subsequent races. Trained by Rusty Arnold, Aspiring will be looking to improve on a seventh-place finish in her last start, an Oct. 6 allowance over the Keeneland Polytrack.

Also entered are Temple Street, Royal Highland, Perfeck Connect, Patricia's Cat, Boffo, and Indivia.

Another $50,000 allowance race, for fillies and mares on the turf, precedes the feature as the eighth of 10 races.