10/26/2004 12:00AM

Kitten's Joy likes turf wet or dry

Magistretti, likely the second choice in the Turf, tours Lone Star Park on Tuesday.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Tex. - So much for the pool table effect. The two or so inches of rain that drenched the Dallas area Monday afternoon has left the Lone Star Park turf course considerably softer than what had been widely predicted for this time of year, and now the trainers of the top contenders in the $2 million Turf are trying to envision how that development may affect the race.

Dale Romans, who sent out the heavy Turf favorite, Kitten's Joy, for a routine two-mile jog over a muddy main track Tuesday morning, said he is mostly unconcerned about the turf condition for Saturday, but other trainers might be more worried.

"My horse has already won over every kind of track imaginable," said Romans. "We ran and won over the soft turf in the Joe Hirsch," an impressive romp at Belmont Oct. 2. "I guess there's some irony in what's happened with all the rain. People were talking about how hard and fast the turf was going to be, like a pool table, and then we get all this rain. The turf was pretty soft when we worked over it last weekend, and I imagine it's even softer now, although it's supposed to be better by Saturday."

More rain was in the forecast for Wednesday, but after that, the Texas skies were supposed to be mostly clear. Because of the heavy rain, the turf course was closed for training Tuesday.

Patrick Biancone, who has perhaps the main threat to Kitten's Joy in Magistretti, said he had been informed when he assumed Magistretti's training this summer that Magistretti didn't like soft turf. But the colt's recent race record shows otherwise: His win in the Man o' War and runner-up finish to Kitten's Joy in the Joe Hirsch both came over a yielding course at Belmont Park.

"I know, I know, that is not what he has shown," said Biancone. "Anyway, the ground we get on race day I think will be good. It looks like it will be kind and fast, maybe just a little soft."

Magistretti, accompanied by the 2-year-old filly Sense of Style and by Biancone on a pony, visited the Lone Star paddock Tuesday before having an easy jog.

With Sarafan having been declared from the Turf on Monday because of a minor leg injury, the field for the 1 1/2-mile race stood at no more than nine Tuesday. There is a strong possibility it might be only eight because the connections of Ouija Board, the standout 3-year-old filly from England, appeared to be leaning more toward the Filly and Mare Turf instead of the Turf. Entries were to be drawn Wednesday.

All but two of the Turf probables were scheduled to have arrived at Lone Star by Tuesday evening, with Mustanfar and Star Over the Bay booked on flights Wednesday.