06/19/2001 11:00PM

K.C.'s Gift in good for Romans


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Can't anybody do anything by himself around here?

Last spring, Dale Romans and D. Wayne Lukas dead-heated for the training title at Churchill Downs with 18 wins each. Last fall, Elliott Walden and Bernie Flint tied with 10.

This spring, another dogfight looms. Into the Wednesday card, the training leaders were Flint with 17 winners, Romans with 16, and Walden with 14.

"Oh, yeah," said Romans. "It's going to be tight again." The spring meet ends July 8.

On Friday, Romans could get a lift when K.C.'s Gift, a much-improved Summer Squall filly, starts as a solid favorite in the ninth-race feature, a $48,800 allowance for fillies and mares. K.C.'s Gift, to be ridden by Calvin Borel, was beaten just a neck in a similar second-level allowance here June 6, giving her two wins and three seconds from her last seven starts.

As usual, there is no turf racing here Friday. Twilight first post is 3 p.m. Eastern.

Pat Day and Robby Albarado, one-two atop the Churchill jockey standings, both will be in Texas on Friday to ride in the All-Star Jockey Championship.

Colstar, Locust Grove highweight

Colstar, winner of the 2000 Locust Grove Handicap, has shipped into Churchill from Maryland and will be the 121-pound highweight in the 2001 Locust Grove, to be run here Saturday.

Megans Bluff, with 119 pounds, figures as a slight favorite in the Grade 3, 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares. Other probables are Spook Express, 117; Clearly a Queen, 115; Gino's Spirits, 115; Solvig, 115; Badouizm, 114; Crazy Ensign, 113; Histoire Sainte, 113; Joi's Flame, 111; Silent Emotion, 111; Sitka, 109; and Star Queen, 108.

* Apprentice rider Kris Prather underwent what was termed "100 percent successful surgery" in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday to repair torn tendons in her shoulder, according to Louisville physician Dr. Ray Shea. Prather's agent, Steve Elzey, said doctors are optimistic that Prather could be able to return to riding as early as the Turfway Park fall meet, which begins Sept. 6. Prather has ridden 114 winners this year despite having missed about three months because of injury.

* Trainer Niall O'Callaghan said Guided Tour, upset winner of the Stephen Foster Handicap last weekend, likely will run again in August. "He's so honest and hard-trying that he depletes his body," said O'Callaghan.