10/29/2008 12:00AM

Scratch one and count on the other


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Everyone should have such capable backup. When the undefeated Euroears had to be scratched from his long-awaited comeback in a turf allowance Thursday at Churchill Downs, trainer Bret Calhoun still was left with one of the main contenders in Chamberlain Bridge.

Euroears, sidelined since suffering a non-displaced condylar fracture in a hind leg shortly after running his career record to 6 for 6 with a March 8 victory at the Fair Grounds, "had healed perfectly, and everything was going great," said Calhoun. That is until the 4-year-old colt suffered severe muscle cramps, or "tied up," and had to be medicated Tuesday morning.

"He's fine," said Calhoun. "I had him all ready to run, so I guess we're just going to have to look for another spot."

Euroears was one of eight horses, including two listed for the main track only, entered in race 9 on Thursday, a $56,000 allowance scheduled for five furlongs on the turf.

Chamberlain Bridge, who starts Thursday from post 1 with Jamie Theriot to ride, won the $150,000 Woodford Stakes on the Keeneland turf in his last start. Chamberlain Bridge has "been thriving" since the Oct. 4 Woodford, Calhoun said.

High-class turf-sprint specialists clearly are in abundance in the Calhoun barn these days. Mr. Nightlinger had won five straight turf sprints when he was sent off at only 7-1 for the inaugural Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint on Saturday at Santa Anita, where he finished 11th. "Nightlinger came back fine," said Calhoun. "He'll have a full physical done on him before we make a decision on how much time off we're going to give him."

As for the Thursday challengers to Chamberlain Bridge - and there can only be as many as four, assuming the race stays on the grass - Junior College has shown versatility and class under a variety of circumstances in amassing more than $400,000 in earnings, while Kingship exits several tough races, most recently the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland.

Carnacks Choice and Piratesonthelake round out the starters if the race stays on the grass, while Knights Cross and Truelyonbroadway will run only if it is shifted to the main track.