11/10/2006 12:00AM

Nightmare Affair: BC money well spent

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MIAMI - There are many ways an owner can show confidence in his horse going into a big race, but few any more meaningful than the $180,000 that owners Gary Marano and Ronald Borgese put up just to make their 29-1 chance Nightmare Affair eligible to compete in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Marano and Borgese got their money's worth and then some after Nightmare Affair finished a game third behind Thor's Echo and Friendly Island in the Sprint. With the $213,000 in purse money Nightmare Affair earned, the pair just about broke even after all expenses for the trip were added in.

"We were just thrilled for the opportunity to have a horse in the Breeders' Cup and to be able to give Nightmare Affair the chance to compete in this type of race," said Borgese. "And if he didn't have to check when Pomeroy stumbled down the backstretch, we might have even finished second.

"This was never about the money, although, sure, we'd have liked to have the money. But you can't buy this type of experience with all the money in the world, and as far as I'm concerned I got everything I wanted out of this trip. I walked out of there more than satisfied."

Borgese and Marano are partners in a new venture called the Lucky Gambler Racing Stable, a racing syndicate they organized during the summer. Nightmare Affair is not a part of the Lucky Gambler Stable.

"We've already got a couple of horses running at Calder and a couple of yearlings on the farm," said Borgese.

Trainer Manny Azpurua said Nightmare Affair will be pointed for the Grade 1 De Francis Dash at Laurel and a potential rematch with Thor's Echo on Nov. 25.

Pomeroy ready for stallion career

Trainers Marty Wolfson and Eddie Plesa Jr. also reported that their Calder-based Breeders' Cup runners emerged from their races in good order.

Wolfson said that Pomeroy escaped with nary a scratch despite clipping heels and stumbling badly down the backstretch of the Sprint, and that he is already in Ocala, where he will stand at stud in 2007.

"That deal was finalized before the Breeders' Cup," said Wolfson. "He's booked to 95 mares next season."

Wolfson also said that Miesque's Approval, upset winner of the Mile, will return to training next week and make his next start in the Sunshine Millions Turf at Santa Anita in late January, a potential meeting with Lava Man.

Plesa said he was pleased with Adhrhythm's race in the Juvenile Fillies and thought she might have gotten a little excited when the horse next to her acted up loading into the gate. Adhrhythm finished seventh.

Slots may start this week

Gulfstream's president, Paul Micucci, said Friday he is hopeful that the slot-machine room and all other entertainment areas of the new Gulfstream Park Racetrack and Casino can be opened to the public by next weekend.

At a press reception to showcase the facility, Micucci said that the track has met with regulators from the state of Florida for the past two weeks testing the equipment and that 99 percent of the building is ready to go.

"We will hold an invitation-only gala on Thursday evening," said Micucci, "and hopefully the facility can be up and running by then and available to the public immediately after that."

Gulfstream Park has installed 516 slot machines on the second floor of the grandstand.

In addition, simulcasting will be offered nightly after 6 p.m., while the poker room will be open from noon to midnight on all days that live racing is conducted at Calder throughout the remainder of the 2006 season.

Micucci said construction will begin soon on additional grandstand seating at the north end of the track, which will be available by opening day of the 2007 Gulfstream meet on Jan. 3. A new outdoor paddock has also been constructed at the west end of the walking ring.