10/20/2002 11:00PM

Nafzger, Zito tied for top spot


If Carl Nafzger is to be recognized as Keeneland's leading trainer when the fall meet ends Saturday, it will have to be in an absentee sort of way.

Nafzger was scheduled to leave Monday for Chicago, where on Saturday he will run Westerly Breeze in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Arlington. In the meantime, Nafzger's horses will carry on at Keeneland, where he and Nick Zito are tied for leading trainer with five wins with just four days remaining in the meet.

Nafzger, who tied for a Keeneland training title at the 1994 fall meet, could get an early jump on the final stretch of racing with Unshaded in the Wednesday feature, a $57,000 allowance. Unshaded, winner of the 2000 Travers Stakes, will be ridden by Robby Albarado when he faces six opponents in the one-mile turf race, which is limited to horses that have never won a turf race "other than."

Meanwhile, Zito, who was leading trainer at the 1997 spring meet, has three horses in action on the Wednesday undercard. Besides Nafzger and Zito, four other trainers have four wins at the meet.

Sellers begins comeback

After more than a year away, veteran jockey Shane Sellers finally will return to action Wednesday.

Sellers said in August that he was retiring from a spectacular riding career primarily because of a major knee injury suffered in December 2000, but he has been working horses recently in another comeback attempt.

Sellers has just one mount Wednesday; he will ride Global Attraction, trained by Zito, in the second race.

"We're going to come back slowly," said agent Fred Aime. "By next week [at Churchill Downs], we're hoping to turn things loose."

Aime said Sellers also is scheduled to ride at Arlington Park on Sunday, closing day of that meet.

Sellers, 36, has been a top jockey on the Kentucky circuit since 1994. He rode more than 18 years without a major injury until a post-parade accident at Fair Grounds on Dec. 9, 2000, threw his career into chaos.

He returned to riding briefly in the summer of 2001 but stopped after a few weeks, citing incessant pain in the knee.

Day nears 20th title

After riding four more winners Sunday, Pat Day appears on his way to a record 20th riding title at Keeneland. With four days remaining at the 17-day meet, Day has 20 wins, five more than Albarado.

Day won Sunday aboard Anbar ($3.20) in the first, Ozzie Cat ($2.40) in the fifth, Foreign Authority ($4.20) in the sixth, and Baileys Edge ($8) in the seventh.

The fall title would be Day's 17th; he also has won three spring crowns and is the track's all-time leading rider in virtually every category.

New strategy to keep fans at track

Keeneland will run seven live races Saturday, when first post is 12:30 p.m. Eastern. Simulcasts of all eight Breeders' Cup races will be coordinated around the live races. In previous years, Keeneland halted live action after just four races, but spokesman Jim Williams said, "people streamed out of here by the hundreds to go home" to watch the Breeders' Cup on television.

"This way, we're hoping to keep more fans around," he said.

The $150,000 Fayette Stakes, a Grade 3 race for older horses, is the live closing-day feature. Action shifts to Churchill Downs in Louisville the following afternoon. The opening-day feature is the $100,000 Ack Ack Stakes, a 7 1/2-furlong race for 3-year-olds and upward. The Churchill meet runs through Nov. 30.

* Louisville-area fans are reminded that Churchill will be open Breeders' Cup Day for simulcasting while the Trackside annex normally used during dark periods, will be closed.