07/07/2005 12:00AM

Joint Effort looks good even off short rest

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Joint Effort won a maiden race with such ease last Sunday that trainer Dale Romans didn't see any harm in taking a quick peek at the Debutante Stakes.

"I really didn't enter with the intention of actually running," Romans said soon after a field of nine 2-year-old fillies was entered for the $100,000 Debutante Stakes, a Grade 3 race that will be run for the 105th time Saturday at Churchill Downs.

But after being informed that , bred and owned by Donald Dizney, has been listed as the morning-line favorite for the 5 1/2-furlong Debutante, Romans said he was willing to reconsider his stance. After all, off her 5 1/2-length victory and 85 Beyer Speed Figure, Joint Effort appears to fit the spot very well, even with the presumed disadvantage of just five days' rest.

"I'll go over the field real well, then talk it over with Mr. Dizney," said Romans, who already has clinched the Churchill training crown, marking the fifth time in six years he has won or tied for the spring title. "You don't normally like to run a young filly back so quick, but she ran so easy that my first thought was to take a look and go from there."

Besides Joint Effort, who would start from post 1 with Mark Guidry aboard, the Debutante also drew such promising fillies as , a Claiborne Farm filly who won her lone start under a hand ride and will have Pat Day aboard again Saturday.

The rest of the Debutante field is She Says It Best, Runaway Cat, Swept Gold, More Than Pretty, and We Will Dance.

The Debutante, which goes as the 10th of 11 Saturday races, is the highlight of an exceptionally good program, one devoid of any claiming races.

The Heavenly Cause Stakes (race 5) and Zenobia Empress Handicap (race 9), each worth $72,000, are the secondary features, while three allowance races include an entry-level route (race 8) in which A.P. Arrow makes his first start since finishing fifth behind Afleet Alex in the June 11 Belmont Stakes. The other allowances go as races 3 and 7.

Four maiden special weights (races 1, 4, 6, 11) and a starter-allowance (race 2) round out a card that starts at 1:15 p.m. Eastern.