12/13/2001 12:00AM

Crafty Shaw ready to get the distance

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Until Crafty Shaw suffered a stress fracture in the April 14 Arkansas Derby, the Mackin family of Louisville thought they might just be a cab ride away from the Kentucky Derby.

The Mackins, whose horses run under the red-and-black silks of the Lucky Seven Stable, are the longtime franchise holders of Yellow Cab Co. in Louisville. Crafty Shaw, who captured the main Arkansas Derby prep, was sidelined by the injury, depriving Ginny Mackin and her five grown children of their first Derby horse.

On Saturday, already two races into his comeback, Crafty Shaw should be tough to beat in the $50,000 Prairie Bayou Stakes at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky. In his latest start, Crafty Shaw easily won a one-mile allowance, a race that should have the Pete Vestal-trained colt primed for the 1 1/8 miles of the Prairie Bayou.

Ginny Mackin's late husband, Leo, initiated the family's foray into racing, having dabbled as an owner in the late 1980's. By 1995, Leo was more serious about the game, investing heavily in racing and breeding stock while naming the operation for the seven members of his immediate family.

Although Leo Mackin died in February 2000, the family continues to run under the Lucky Seven Stable banner. According to the oldest sibling, Mike Mackin, 41, the stable is doing better now than ever for him, his mother, and brothers Jeff, Jay, Craig, and sister Kim.

"In November and December, we've had five wins and three seconds from 11 starts," he said.

Besides Crafty Shaw, the only graded winner ever owned by the Mackins, their active runners include Minister's Baby, Holy Gem, Philadelphia Blues, and Backatitagain, all allowance-caliber horses. The family also owns nine other Thoroughbreds, mostly yearlings and weanlings.

In the Prairie Bayou, which is carded as the ninth of 10 Saturday races at Turfway, Crafty Shaw will be ridden by the leading jockey at the current Holiday meet, Jimmy Lopez. Probably his main opposition will come from Horrible Evening and Glacial. A field of 10 is entered.