10/27/2004 12:00AM

Kitten's Joy short price for new guy


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - What are the odds that the first horse a trainer ever saddles in the Breeders' Cup will be the heaviest favorite on that particular Breeders' Cup card?

Pretty long, that's for sure. But when the dust had settled at the Breeders' Cup draw Wednesday at Lone Star Park, it became quite evident that Kitten's Joy, trained by BC rookie Dale Romans, will be the shortest price of the day when he goes postward in the $2 million Turf.

"I feel good about it," said Romans, the Churchill Downs-based trainer who will be represented Saturday by his second BC starter, Roses in May, a half-hour or so later in the Classic. "The horse is doing so good, I have to feel he's going to live up to all the talk. I hate to be too confident, but I really feel like it's going to take something unusual to beat him."

Kitten's Joy, with John Velazquez to ride, drew post 4 in a field of only eight starters in the Turf, which will be run around three turns on the seven-furlong Lone Star layout. The eight-horse field matches the lowest in BC Turf history, set two years ago at Arlington Park.

The top two challengers to Kitten's Joy appear to be Powerscourt and Magistretti, who met in August in the Arlington Million in Chicago. Powerscourt finished first in the Million but was disqualified to fourth for a midstretch bumping incident, while Magistretti finished third and was elevated to second on the stewards' ruling. Since then, both have enhanced their reputations. Powerscourt was a good third in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes, while Magistretti won the Grade 1 Man o' War before running second to Kitten's Joy in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic.

Powerscourt, said trainer Aidan O'Brien, is a "very good-moving horse that handles fast ground well. The last piece of work he did at home [in Ireland] was exceptional."

Powerscourt is by Sadler's Wells, the leading sire in BC history, with six winners.

The rest of the Turf runners appear to have a very tough task.

"It's like a David versus Goliath situation," said Sean Gerson, one of several men in a partnership that owns the lone California runner in the field, Star Over the Bay. "We're California speed, and then you've got a horse like Kitten's Joy that has a classical winning style. He's an awesome species. We're just happy to be here and to give it our best shot."

Star Over the Bay, a 6-year-old gray gelding, has been a tremendous overachiever this year, winning three graded stakes since Mike Mitchell claimed him for $80,000 in May.

The others in the Turf are Request for Parole, Strut the Stage, Better Talk Now, and Mustanfar.

Turf (Grade 1) 1 1/2 miles, turf Purse: $2,000,000

4Kitten's JoyD. RomansA super freak, super freak, he's super freaky4-5
6MagistrettiP. BianconeHe's good, but no match for top one in last4-1
1PowerscourtA. O'BrienThreat with a duplicate of his Arlington Million7-2
7Star Over the BayM. MitchellGreat claim: he's won three straight stakes8-1
5Better Talk NowH. G. MotionA repeat of his Sword Dancer will fall short15-1
2Request for ParoleS. HoughFirm going, tight LS turns, may help him20-1
3Strut the StageM. FrostadErratic this year; has never been this good30-1
8MustanfarK. McLaughlinHis good form came in much weaker races30-1

- Listed purses do not include supplemental fees
- Odds and commentary by Mike Watchmaker.