10/15/2004 12:00AM

Kitten's Joy ships just for work

Bill Straus
Justin Shepherd wins his first graded stakes, aboard Josh's Madelyn in Friday's Raven Run.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kitten's Joy, the 3-year-old grass star who figures a solid favorite in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf, had his first workout since his sensational win in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic when he breezed an easy five furlongs in 1:03.40 Friday over a soft Keeneland turf course.

Trainer Dale Romans had Kitten's Joy shipped to Keeneland from his Churchill Downs base for the late-morning workout. Ken Ramsey, who with his wife, Sarah, owns Kitten's Joy, was alongside Romans to watch the workout, which came with regular exercise rider Faustino Orantes aboard.

"The track was pretty soft, and we didn't want him to do much," said Romans. "It worked out just the way we wanted. I'm real happy."

Romans said he would "just as soon have worked" Kitten's Joy at Churchill, but the turf course at the Louisville track will not open for training for another week or so.

Romans said Kitten's Joy and his other Breeders' Cup starter, Roses in May, will leave Tuesday from Louisville on a charter flight for Lone Star Park near Dallas, where the eight Breeders' Cup races will be run Oct. 30. Both horses will have workouts next Saturday, with Kitten's Joy drilling on turf and Roses in May on the dirt.

Kitten's Joy, a homebred by El Prado, has won 8 of 9 starts on turf, with his most recent victory coming under John Velazquez in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch on Oct. 2 at Belmont Park. The Joe Hirsch was Kitten's Joy's first try against older horses. Velazquez will retain the mount for the 1 1/2-mile Turf.

Meanwhile, just a minute or so before Kitten's Joy worked, one of his main rivals for the Turf, Magistretti, also worked over the Keeneland grass course, covering the same distance in 1:02.

Magistretti, trained by Patrick Biancone, finished second, beaten 2 1/2 lengths by Kitten's Joy, in the Joe Hirsch. In his previous start, Magistretti was a sharp winner of the Grade 1 Man o' War.

Josh's Madelyn rallies in Raven Run

Josh's Madelyn gave jockey Justin Shepherd his first graded-stakes victory when she rallied from far back to win the Grade 2, $224,200 Raven Run Stakes on Friday.

Josh's Madelyn, trained by Larry Jones, returned $13.20 as third choice in a field of 10 3-year-old fillies after drawing off to win the seven-furlong Raven Run by 1 1/4 lengths over Vision of Beauty, who led most of the way. Feline Story ran third, another 9 1/2 lengths behind. Friendly Michelle, the 9-5 favorite, faded badly on the far turn to finish ninth.

Shepherd, who began his riding career last year at Midwest tracks far smaller than Keeneland, said Josh's Madelyn was able to overcome a stumbling start.

"They were going a reasonable pace up front," said Shepherd, who lost his apprenticeship earlier this year. "Good enough to run them down. When I asked her, she went."

With her sixth win from 14 lifetime starts, Josh's Madelyn more than doubled her bankroll to $245,202.

Maiden connects at 61-1

With a cold rain enveloping the track, Friday was the dreariest day so far at the fall meet. But after Wave Babe won the first race, there was plenty of luminescence emanating from the infield tote board to brighten the place.

Wave Babe, trained by Jackie Christenson, posted a major surprise in the opener, returning a meet-high $125.60 to win after drawing off under Eddie Zuniga to capture the $25,000 maiden-claiming route. It was the 14th lifetime start for Wave Babe.

Holthus babies point for Churchill stakes

Somewhat conspicuous by his absence when the two major 2-year-old races were run here last weekend was Bob Holthus, who won stakes with three different 2-year-olds this summer.

The Breeders' Futurity and Alcibiades "came up a little quick" in relation to when his horses last raced, said Holthus. "I'm getting them ready for Churchill."

Actually, Elusive Chris, winner of the Ellis Park Juvenile, recently suffered a condylar fracture in a workout at Churchill and will be sidelined until the spring. Holthus's other top colt, Greater Good, will run next in the Nov. 6 Iroquois Stakes, while his top filly, Kota, will run the same day in the Pocahontas Stakes.