10/14/2007 11:00PM

Something new for Mr. Nightlinger

EmailLEXINGTON, Ky. - Some horses take an entire career to experience the variety that Mr. Nightlinger has gotten in less than a year. When the Indian Charlie colt makes just his eighth start in the Wednesday feature at Keeneland, it will add to a resume that already includes races in sprints, routes, on dirt, on turf, in the slop, and now, on Polytrack.

"He'll do a little bit of everything," said trainer Bret Calhoun. "The only concern is maybe taking him farther than a mile, but otherwise, he's extremely versatile. He pretty much handles everything we ask of him."

Lacking a stakes race, Keeneland offers up a $54,000 six-furlong allowance as its spotlight race for Wednesday, and Mr. Nightlinger, fresh from a pair of two-turn stakes races at Fairplex Park in Southern California, seems to fit the spot well, even on what might be a difficult turn-back for some other horses.

"Shortening to the three-quarters of a mile should be good for him," said Calhoun. "When he broke his maiden going short last winter in New Orleans, he really ran a monster race."

Mr. Nightlinger, with Jamie Theriot to ride, was assigned post 9 in a field of 12 entered in the eighth of nine Wednesday races. Theriot has been one of the hottest jockeys at the Keeneland fall meet, already winning three stakes - the Shadwell Mile, Jessamine, and Perryville.

Calhoun is normally based in Texas and adjoining circuits, but brought 11 of his best horses to Keeneland this fall. Mr. Nightlinger was good enough to dead-heat for third in the Lone Star Derby in May, but the colt colicked, costing him considerable training time. After recovering, he was sent to trainer Cody Autrey to run at Fairplex, and after back-to-back third-place finishes, he returned to Calhoun at Keeneland on Oct. 2 .

Three rivals look most formidable for Mr. Nightlinger on Wednesday: Scorpius, a two-time winner from four starts who is owned by Darley and trained by Eoin Harty; Hamoody, a Patrick Biancone-trained 3-year-old who won in group company in England at 2; and Next Adventure, a creditable fourth in a small Meadowlands stakes in his most recent start.

Hamoody is the obvious wild card of the group, considering the colt has shown very little since his Group 2 score in August 2006 at Goodwood.

The Wednesday card is the ninth of 17 fall programs - the midway point of a meet that runs through Breeders' Cup Saturday, Oct. 27.