02/14/2003 12:00AM

Nafzger has two fillies for one race


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Carl Nafzger has a pleasant problem on his hands: deciding which of his talented 3-year-old fillies, My Boston Gal or Westerly Breeze, to run in next Sunday's Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes.

The Davona Dale is one of two stakes for 3-year-old fillies on that program, along with the $50,000 Charon Stakes, an overnight race at seven furlongs. The 1 1/16-mile Davona Dale is a prep for the $250,000 Bonnie Miss Stakes on March 14.

"Both fillies are doing really well and both will run next weekend," said Nafzger. "I've got two options. I'll wait to see how both fillies do in their last work and how they are coming into the race. If one might appear to be coming up a little shorter than the other, I can run that one in the Charon and the other in the Davona Dale."

Everything being equal, Nafzger appears to be leaning toward starting the undefeated My Boston Gal in the Davona Dale. A daughter of Boston Harbor, My Boston Gal won her three starts at 2 by a combined 11 1/2 lengths, including the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes by 3 1/4 lengths over Holiday Lady.

Westerly Breeze also became a Grade 2 winner at 2, outgaming Ruby's Reception to win Keeneland's Alcibiades Stakes. The victory earned her a trip to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, where she finished sixth behind the winner, Storm Flag Flying.

Besides one or both of Nafzger's fillies, the Davona Dale is expected to attract Ivanavinalot, Perfect Story, and Yell.

Storm Flag Flying looking good

Nafzger's stable is directly across from trainer Shug McGaughey's, and he has gotten a good view of Storm Flag Flying ever since the 2-year-old filly champion shipped here earlier this month.

"Storm Flag Flying looks great," said Nafzger. "She is an exceptional filly. I have to see her every morning but I'm hoping I won't have to see her in the afternoon at least until we get to the Oaks."

Belterra loosens her legs

Nafzger is also in the process of readying Belterra for her 2003 debut. Like My Boston Gal, Belterra was undefeated at 2, but started only three times as a 3-year-old and has not run since winning an allowance race at Churchill Downs on June 6.

"She contracted a fever in New York during the summer," said Nafzger. "I never could get on top of her last year, so I just decided let's stop and bring her back this winter."

Belterra worked an easy furlongs in 1:02.40 here Thursday and, according to Nafzger, is still a month or so away from a race.

"I might nominate her for the Rampart, although she probably won't be ready to run until we get to Keeneland or even over at Turfway," said Nafzger. "I'm planning to run Softly in the Rampart. She had no shot in her last trip. Everything went wrong for her that day."

Softly finished sixth behind Allamerican Bertie in her 2003 debut in the Sabin Handicap Feb. 8.

O'Callaghan: Plenty to look forward to

Already off to a good start at the meet, trainer Niall O'Callaghan appears to have a lot to look forward to the rest of the way.

O'Callaghan scored his sixth win of the meet on Thursday, when Monarchoftheglen finally broke through his entry-level allowance condition. Earlier in the day, O'Callaghan worked several talented horses at Payson Park for upcoming races. Two of the horses he worked, Riddlesdown and Della Francesca, are contenders in Sunday's Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap at 1 3/8 miles on turf.

A third horse of his, Keats, an allowance winner here on Jan. 10, worked four furlongs in 50.80 seconds. He is scheduled to start next in Saturday's Grade 1, $500,000 Donn Handicap.

Keats is 3 for 4 at Gulfstream, his lone loss coming in last year's Donn Handicap when he got involved in a vicious speed duel and finished in last place.

"Last year's Donn was loaded with speed and we took each other out," O'Callaghan said. "This year, I believe we could be the speed. Because he was so huge at Gulfstream, I've got to go again."

O'Callaghan has not yet chosen a rider for Keats. Jorge Chavez, who rode Keats in the allowance win, is riding Lido Palace in the Donn.

Wiseman's Ferry, winner of last year's Lone Star and West Virginia derbies, worked five furlongs in 1:02.80 at Payson on Thursday. He hasn't raced since finishing ninth in the Indiana Derby on Oct. 5.

"He had a couple of minor ailments, and we blistered him," said O'Callaghan, who hopes to bring Wiseman's Ferry back to the races within the next month.

Chamrousse, who won the Black-Eyed Susan, went five furlongs in 1:02.60 and is also a couple of weeks away from returning, O'Callaghan said. Chamrousse hasn't been out since a fourth-place finish in the Coaching Club American Oaks. She came out of that race with a chip in a hind ankle, which was surgically removed.

"We took it out, gave her plenty of time," O'Callaghan said. "We turned her out for a while, and I've had her at Payson all winter. She's very mature, not as excitable as she was last year. Hopefully, we'll have a nice year with her."

O'Callaghan also revealed that his owner Henry Pabst privately purchased Ontario, a promising 3-year-old son of Storm Cat who had been pre-entered in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile, but who did not go to Arlington Park for the race. He is about a month away from making the races.

Bravo out another three months

Joe Bravo, an eight-time riding champion at Monmouth Park, will miss another three months of action as doctors have told him he needs to have a new rod inserted into his left leg. Bravo broke the leg in a spill at Monmouth Park in July 2001.

Bravo, 31, who returned for two months before breaking his wrist on May 30, 2002, was hopeful of getting on horses this coming week. But after meeting Tuesday in Manhattan with several specialists - including New York Knicks team doctor Norman Scott - Bravo was told he had to undergo another operation. Bravo is scheduled for surgery on Thursday.

"Brutally disappointed,'' Bravo said. "I met with two specialists and they told me we got to put a new rod in your leg. [Scott] said after six to eight weeks I guarantee you'll be back on a horse. I really expected to get on horses this week. Now, I'm going back in for surgery."

Bravo said he needs to have all the calcium that built up in his leg removed and then have the rod put in. "I'm really dreading this one but I got to get it done,'' he said.

If all goes well, Bravo could be back in time for the Monmouth Park meeting.

"May is what I'm hoping for," Bravo said. "They said it would take six to eight weeks until I could get on a horse then I'd like to give myself a month to get fit on a horse."

* Cellars Shiraz worked a mile in 1:42.80 at Calder on Thursday. A seven-time stakes winner, and second behind Stay Forever in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf, Cellars Shiraz is nominated to Sunday's $75,000 Allen Paulson Division of the Georgia Stakes.

* Point Prince and Krieger, first and second in the Grade 2 Appleton Handicap here Jan. 4, both worked Thursday. Point Prince went an easy half in 52.40 seconds, while Krieger breezed five-eighths in 1:02.80.

- additional reporting by David Grening