07/06/2006 12:00AM

Iosilver: Fire or misfire?


CHICAGO - Iosilver heads a field of eight entered in the Dr. Fager Stakes on Saturday at Arlington Park. Check that. Iolsilver would head the Dr. Fager if he hadn't performed so dismally May 16 in his first start of the year. But after prompting the pace at odds of 1-2 in a high-end allowance, Iosilver chucked it, finishing a distant last of four, a far cry from his excellent 2005 form.

It might have been a sloppy racetrack, it might have been a six-month layoff, but whatever the case, handicappers will have to guess which Iosilver will show up in the Dr. Fager. Seven others were entered in the race, a $40,000 overnight stakes carded for 1 1/8 miles on dirt, but High Expectations will be scratched, according to trainer Christine Janks, who also entered Nkosi Reigns. There are others of quality, too, including Kid Grindstone, who won the Grade 3 Fifth Season Breeders' Cup in his last start; It's No Joke, a close third in the Gulfstream Park Handicap earlier this year; and Air Academy, whose poor try on turf last time is a throw-out.

, a 5-year-old trained by Chris Block for owners Darrell and Sadie Brommer, won three in a row to finish off his 2005 campaign, a streak punctuated by a 16-length blowout in the $104,000 Schaefer Mile at Hoosier Park. Iosilver has a high cruising speed and, at his best, can sustain it over nine furlongs and more. He figures to get pace pressure from It's No Joke and the longshot American Man, but could easily outrun those two for the lead and never look back.

missed training earlier this meet with a bruised foot, and his light work tab suggest his best race might not come Saturday. Janks, on the other hand, has been awaiting a spot for Nkosi Reigns, and he could break through with his first win of the season.

has started only three times this year and has yet to show his best, but last season at Arlington he finished second in the Dr. Fager, won the Cigar Stakes, and was a close third in the Hanshin Cup. Nkosi Reigns has been breezing regularly, and breezing fast - he worked six furlongs in virtual race-pace June 4, going in 1:11.80 - but quick works don't mean that much with this horse.

"He always works fast," Janks said. "I don't see any correlation between how he works or how he runs. He's not a horse that tells you much. The only thing I can really go by is his weight, and it's good right now."