09/17/2003 11:00PM

Naturally Wild's travels lead to Flawlessly


CHICAGO - That horse van crisscrossing the country the last three months? That may have had Naturally Wild on it.

Naturally Wild has seen the USA this summer - not in a Chevrolet, but in the box stall of a trailer - riding from Texas to Louisiana to Delaware, from Delaware to West Virginia, back to Delaware, and finally out to Chicago.

She races here Saturday in the $45,000 Flawlessy, a one-mile grass stakes for fillies and mares. There is the danger that Naturally Wild will run flat after logging so many miles, though the sheer joy of getting off the road may infuse her performance.

"She's done a lot of traveling, which I suppose is a concern, but she's trained well through it all," trainer Bret Calhoun said.

Naturally Wild was one of 12 horses entered in the Flawlessy: Two more are on the also-eligible list, and several others tried getting into the race. Post 11 does her no favors, but on the other hand, Naturally Wild quite possibly is the best horse in the race. If jockey Shane Laviolette can drop her over and find early position, Naturally Wild will be in a good spot to pick up an elusive stakes victory.

And that is one of the main reasons she was plucked out of an $80,000 claiming race by Robert Beck's Coast to Coast Racing last April at Santa Anita.

"Bobby Beck found her," Calhoun said. "I did some research and found out she was okay, so I told Bobby to go ahead and [claim] her. A Wild Again mare that's earned almost $300,000, and she still has some racing left, she seemed like a good claim. She's gotten lots of stakes placings, but we need to get a stakes win with her. Hopefully this is the one."

Naturally Wild's race was rained onto a sloppy Mountaineer Park dirt track the last time she tried for her stakes win. Earlier in the summer, there was the $50,000 Honeymoon at Louisiana Downs, but there she hooked the graded stakes horse Bien Nicole. No one like that is in Saturday's race, though several fillies are worthy opponents. Delmonico Cat has drawn cozily on the rail and is coming off three top races. She had won two straight before finishing second in her last start, beaten a half-length by Delicatessa, who breaks from the adjacent stall Saturday. Delicatessa may need wet turf for her best chance, but she, Salty Farma, and Beret all seem like viable contenders.

Race for Glory headed west

D. Wayne Lukas's Arlington string pulled up stakes and headed to California this week, which means the 2-year-old colt Race for Glory won't be running in the Arlington-Washington Futurity next Saturday. Instead, Race for Glory will start in the Cavonnier Stakes, a California-bred race Oct. 1 at the Oak Tree meet.

Lukas, who had 20-odd horses here throughout the meet, finished with a record of 65-8-12-8 and stable earnings of $252,468.

"We hadn't really planned to leave early, but we didn't have a lot of runners the last 10 days, and Wayne wanted to get everything out to California to get ready for the Oak Tree meet," said Greg Falk, who ran the Lukas string here this summer. "We were happy with how things went, and Wayne wants to have about 46 horses, a whole barn, there next year."

Race for Glory, one of the better 2-year-olds to win a maiden race at Arlington this summer, finished fourth in the Ellis Park Juvenile, but has trained well since that race, according to Falk.

Ajedrez likely for Vosburgh

Ajedrez, unbeaten in three starts since being exported from Argentina, almost certainly is headed to Belmont for the Grade 1 Vosburgh on Sept. 27. His trainer, Wayne Catalano, said Ajedrez is scheduled for a five-furlong workout here either Saturday and Sunday, and will travel to New York by van the day after he breezes.

Eddie Razo, who has had a career meet here this summer, will retain the mount.