08/18/2004 11:00PM

Nafzger duo return to site of victories


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Given the choice, trainer Carl Nafzger would rather drive than fly. Nafzger has logged thousands of miles criss-crossing the eastern half of the U.S. when moving from racetrack to racetrack in an automobile, and that again will be his mode of transportation when he makes the 340-mile trek from Louisville, Ky., to Arlington Park this weekend.

As for how his horses win, Nafzger doesn't care if they drive or fly, just as long as they get the job done. Nafzger will have two solid chances for victory Saturday, when he sends out the uncoupled pair of in the $150,000 Arlington Breeders' Cup Oaks, a Grade 3 race that drew an extremely well-matched field of 10 3-year-old fillies.

Both of the Nafzger fillies are coming off first-level allowance victories over the Arlington main track, which just happens to be the venue for the 25th running of the 1 1/8-mile Oaks. Flashy, a homebred Wild Again filly, won a seven-furlong race here July 30, nine days before My Time Now, a homebred Unbridled filly, rallied to win at 1 1/8 miles.

Nafzger said Flashy was quicker to come to hand and figures to show more tactical ability Saturday. My Time Now, on the other hand, took seven races to win her first race and has progressed at a slower pace, but she seems to have drawn even with her stablemate within the last few months.

Flashy is out of Til Forbid, who won the Arlington Oaks in 1991, giving Nafzger his third of a record four winners in the race.

Nafzger said My Time Now displaced her epiglottis in a July 10 defeat at Ellis Park before Nafzger and his staff took measures to prevent a similar occurrence in her recent victory here.

"Both my fillies are rounding into good form, and I'm really happy with both of them," he said.

Besides the Nafzger duo, the Oaks also has at least a few other strong contenders, including Touch of Victory, Platinum Ballet, and the respective one-two-three finishers in the July 30 Sweetest Chant Stakes: Fly Away Angel, Catboat, and Miss Moses.

The Arlington Oaks is carded as the ninth of 10 Saturday races on a card that also includes three allowances (races 3, 7, 8). First post is 1 p.m. Central, with the Oaks set for 4:56.