07/27/2005 12:00AM

Kitten's Joy makes himself at home

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Dale Romans didn't necessarily want to bring defending turf champion Kitten's Joy with him to Saratoga this summer, but he had no choice. Romans said that Churchill Downs officials denied him the chance to work Kitten's Joy on Churchill's turf course after that meet had ended, even though Churchill owns Arlington Park, where Kitten's Joy will run next in the Arlington Million on Aug. 13.

On Wednesday, Kitten's Joy breezed five furlongs in 58.94 seconds over the training turf course. Edgar Prado was aboard for the work, which was the second fastest of 20 at the distance over a course labeled hard. Romans caught the final eighth in 11.77.

"That's perfect," Romans said. "He'll go fast, but the track's real fast.

"I like the way he finished. We just had to find a turf course we could work on."

Kitten's Joy, who won six graded stakes last year before finishing second in the Breeders' Cup Turf, made a successful 4-year-old debut earlier this month, winning the Firecracker Handicap at Churchill.

Romans said he wasn't sure when he would ship Kitten's Joy to Chicago.

One of Kitten's Joy's main rivals in the Million will be Good Reward, the Manhattan Handicap winner. On Wednesday, Good Reward breezed one mile in 1:36.84 over the hard turf course.

"It seems like he's been taking to his training really well," said trainer Shug McGaughey.

McGaughey said he considered running Good Reward in the Sword Dancer here, also on Aug. 13, but McGaughey preferred to run him the 1 1/4 miles of the Million rather than 1 1/2 miles, the distance of the Sword Dancer.

Romans also trained the horse who put forth the third-fastest work of the morning on the turf course, North East Storm, an unraced 2-year-old by Fusaichi Pegasus who breezed five furlongs in 59.26. North East Storm is a half-brother to North East Bound, a multiple stakes winner who earned more than $1.3 million.

Bank Audit eyes Honorable Miss

The connections of Bank Audit are hoping the summer is as good to her as the winter and spring were. After winning 4 of 6 starts, including three stakes, from Jan. 1 through May 14, Bank Audit got a well-deserved freshening.

Now that her break is over, Bank Audit will be pointed to the Grade 2, $150,000 Honorable Miss Handicap on Aug. 5 and then the Ballerina on Aug. 28. On Wednesday, Bank Audit breezed four furlongs in 48.93 over the Saratoga main track.

"She went real nice," said trainer Frank Laboccetta. "The track was kind of dead today, so it was a good move."

Ramon Dominguez was aboard for Wednesday's work. Dominguez will replace Norberto Arroyo Jr., who had ridden Bank Audit in six of her last eight races.

"I haven't seen or talked to him since that race," Laboccetta said of Arroyo.

Bank Audit won the Interborough Handicap, the Grade 2 Distaff Breeders' Cup in March, and the Grade 2 Genuine Risk in May. Overall, she has won 6 of her last 8 starts.

"We gave her a break, walked her for two weeks, and went light with her," Laboccetta said. "The beginning of July, we started her up."

Ghostzapper's younger brother scores

One of the most anticipated days of the year was supposed to take place Aug. 6 at Saratoga in the Whitney, a race once on the schedule of reigning Horse of the Year Ghostzapper before he was retired in June with a leg injury.

Saratoga fans had to make do with the appearance of Ghostzapper's younger full brother, Aristocrat, in Wednesday's third race. The favorite, Aristocrat ($6.90) scored a half-length victory for Bobby Frankel, Ghostzapper's trainer, and covered the seven furlongs in 1:23.96.

"That was really good," Frankel said as he and his wife, Bonita, made their way to the winner's circle. "I thought he would run well."

Frankel also saddled Sir Halory, a half-brother to Halory Hunter, to a third-place finish in the same race. Both Aristocrat and Sir Halory had not run since last October.

Frankel said he has no big plans in the immediate future for Aristocrat, a 3-year-old son of Awesome Again.

"I'll probably look at a first-level allowance race," Frankel said.

Lady Tak puts in fastest half-mile work

Lady Tak, a winner of two Grade 1's at Saratoga, worked a half-mile in 49.81 over Oklahoma's training track Wednesday. The move was the fastest of 18 works at the distance.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, Lady Tak is being pointed to the Grade 1, $250,000 Ballerina, a race she won last year, on Aug. 28. Two years ago, Lady Tak won the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga.

The seven-furlong Ballerina will be Lady Tak's first start since she finished third in an allowance race at Churchill Downs on May 5.

Scott Blasi, Asmussen's assistant, said Lady Tak was given the time off as a freshening in anticipation of her running at Saratoga.

"She got a little break," Blasi said. "She's done well at Saratoga, and we will have her ready for the Ballerina."

Lady Tak wasn't nominated to the Grade 2 Honorable Miss, a prep for the Ballerina, on Aug. 5. But Asmussen will be represented by two runners, Forest Music and Souris, in the six-furlong Honorable Miss.

Forest Music, third in last year's Test, will make her first start for Asmussen and her new owner, Stonestreet Stables, in the $150,000 Honorable Miss. In her last start, Souris won an overnight stakes at Belmont for Asmussen and owner Nelson Bunker Hunt.

- additional reporting by Karen M. Johnson