07/22/2004 11:00PM

Nafzger has Eurosilver just galloping for now


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Eurosilver, the 3-year-old colt whose classic hopes were dashed in the spring by a mysterious infection, still has yet to breeze after coming under the care of trainer Carl Nafzger nearly two months ago.

"He's only been galloping a couple of weeks now," said Nafzger. "When a horse gets an infection like he has, it can take quite a while for it to get out of his system. His protein levels wouldn't come down. We've been jogging the horse and had him in light training, but we were waiting for the bloodwork to come back perfect before we really started getting a little more serious with him."

Eurosilver, owned by Buckram Oak Farm, is based at the Skylight Training Center some 25 miles east of Churchill Downs. Nafzger assumed the colt's training in early June, soon after Buckram's owner, Mahmoud Fustok, parted ways with trainer Nick Zito.

Eurosilver was seen as a major contender for the Triple Crown races before being sidelined in early April. His last start was a narrow defeat in the March 13 Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

"We don't really have a timetable on when he'll run," said Nafzger.

"We just got the go-ahead" from veterinarian Dr. Paul Byars "a couple of weeks ago. Other than the infection, he's fine physically. We just have to get him back right before we start thinking about the other stuff."

Meanwhile, Nafzger said he still has not decided on whether to run his star mare, Mayo on the Side, in the Grade 1 Go for Wand at Saratoga on Aug. 1 or the Grade 3 Gardenia at Ellis Park six days later. "It'll be one or the other," he said.

A winner for the Cowboy

When R.A. "Cowboy" Jones rode the winning horse in the Wednesday opener at Ellis, it was his first victory since the 2000 Ellis meet. Jones, 61, rides sparingly these days, and holds what is believed to be a North American record: He has ridden a winner in six different decades.

Jones rode Jarrett to a 10 1/2-length win in the $4,000 claiming race for trainer Larry Jones, who is no relation. Track announcer Luke Kruytbosch gave Jones several dramatic calls, including "Here comes the Cowboy!"

Jones rode his first winner at Ellis in 1959 and was the track's leading rider three times, in 1963, 1966, and 1973.

Short prices prevail

Ellis horseplayers were on their game Thursday, when low-priced winners dominated the card. The highest win mutuel on the 10-race card was $7.20, with seven favorites prevailing.

Oddly enough, leading jockey Rafael Bejarano rode just one of the winners, Hutchison Station ($6) in the seventh. Bejarano, who leads all North America jockeys in wins this year, is not dominating the meet in quite the manner that some people may have thought he would, although through Thursday he had won with 27 of 91 mounts, a win rate of 30 percent.

Racing authority still without leader

The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority is not expected to name a new executive director at its monthly meeting on Monday, although an authority spokesman, Billy Reed, said an announcement is imminent.

Reed said Friday that several issues, including the naming of a permanent executive director, will be discussed.

The racing association has been seeking a permanent executive director for months. Bernie Hettel had held the dual positions of executive director and chief steward before resigning under pressure in January. Mickey Sample, who has been acting in the post of chief steward, is expected to be named permanently to the post.