03/13/2007 11:00PM

Nerinx's road show continues


CHICAGO - The 5-year-old gelding Nerinx used to be like most other horses, following a set racing circuit and traveling only when racing shifted from one track to another. Trained at first by Darrin Miller, Nerinx debuted at Gulfstream Park in the winter of 2005, then moved in the spring to the Kentucky circuit, racing at all three tracks in the state for about a year.

Near the end of Churchill's spring-summer meet in 2006, however, life changed. The East Coast-based trainer Bobby Dibona claimed Nerinx and took him to Monmouth Park, and so began Nerinx's life of travel.

Including that final Churchill start, Nerinx has raced at six different racetracks in his last six starts, starting in New Jersey and then in New York, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Friday, Nerinx will make it seven tracks in seven starts when he runs in the featured fourth race at Hawthorne. And as for handling the sometimes-tricky surface at Chicago's urban Thoroughbred playground, there should be no worries.

Nerinx has proven to be the rare horse whose favorite track is the one he happens to be racing on: He won at Churchill, finished second at Monmouth, won at Saratoga, finished second on Polytrack at Keeneland and Turfway, and most recently was second at Mountaineer.

Nerinx was part of the Ken and Sarah Ramsey-owned contingent that left the Dale Romans barn last fall, and has made his last two starts for trainer Mike Maker, who has shipped horses with success to Hawthorne in the past, once winning the track's biggest race, the Hawthorne Gold Cup, with the longshot Freefourinternet. Nerinx has twice been second while under Maker's care, including a nose loss two races ago at Turfway in a second-level allowance, the same class level at which he starts Friday.

Nerinx was one of six entered in race 4, carded at 6 1/2 furlongs, and is one of two horses shipping in from the Trackside training center in Louisville. The other is Benny the Bull, who capped his 2006 season with an entry-level allowance victory at Hawthorne. Both horses have posted recent bullet half-mile works at their home base.

The local faction includes Hugh Robertson trainees City Number and Upright, neither of whom has started since early September.