11/10/2003 12:00AM

Asmussen, Romans going opposite ways


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Breeders' Cup Day marked a turning point in the recent fortunes of Dale Romans and Steve Asmussen, the two favorites to win the training title coming into the 2003 Churchill Downs fall meet.

Romans, who had won one race at the Keeneland meet, sent out longshot M B Sea to win the Fayette Stakes on Oct. 25, closing day at Keeneland, which overlapped with the Breeders' Cup program at Santa Anita. Meanwhile, none of the three horses that Asmussen ran in the Breeders' Cup, including favored Cuvee in the Juvenile, finished in the money.

To a degree, that trend has seemed to carry over to the Churchill meet, where Romans has a big edge in the training title. With 12 of the meet's 27 days of racing in the books, Romans had sent out nine winners from 27 starters, while Asmussen, who won the 2001 fall title here, had won with just four of a meet-high 37 starters.

"You can't keep me down for too long," a happy Romans said last week, after sending out Angela's Love to win an allowance race.

Asmussen, whose far-flung stable once again has him among the North America leaders in virtually all categories, started the meet 1 for 20 before gaining some momentum.

"Getting horses in [for certain races] has been harder than usual, and some of our babies haven't run as well as we'd hoped," said Scott Blasi, Asmussen's Churchill assistant. "But it'll turn around. There are some races coming up that we should do some good in."

As usual, both Romans and Asmussen will have horses in action on Wednesday at Churchill.

Asmussen will run Scouts Emblem, a 3-year-old Our Emblem colt, in the eighth of 10 races, a $45,100 entry-level allowance. A well-matched field of nine horses is entered in the 6 1/2-furlong race.

A race later, Romans will saddle Radiantly in a $46,300 allowance for fillies and mares at the infrequently run distance of 1 3/8 miles on turf. Like most grass races at Churchill, this one drew a full field and should make for hot betting action.

The card ends with probably the best wagering race of the day, a 1 1/8-mile starter-allowance that serves as the second leg of the Trails End Championships. First post is 12:40 p.m. Eastern.

* Churchill's weekly handicapping contests are held each Wednesday at the Trackside simulcast annex. The weekly prize total is $2,000. The finals will be held on Nov. 26.