10/30/2006 1:00AM

Ramsey, Romans split up


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The most dominant owner-trainer team in recent years on the Kentucky circuit has split up. Owner Ken Ramsey and trainer Dale Romans confirmed Monday that 47 horses Romans has had in training for Ramsey and his wife, Sarah, are being moved into different stables this week.

Neither Ramsey nor Romans would speak on the record about the reason for the split, other than to reveal it concerned finances.

The split marks the end of a highly potent owner-trainer combination that made an international impact in recent years. The Ramseys and Romans won the 2005 Dubai World Cup with Roses in May, the 2004 Eclipse Award for top turf horse with Kitten's Joy, and numerous other major races. They also won numerous owner and trainer titles, most notably at Churchill Downs, during their five or so years together, and the Ramseys won the Eclipse for top owner in 2004.

Ramsey said he and Romans "had a lot of highs" together while conceding that mounting troubles in regard to their financial dealings ultimately led to their breakup. He said he planned to split the Romans horses among a handful of trainers, including Bobby Frankel, Ronny Werner, Steve Margolis, Mike Maker, and Charlton Baker. The most accomplished horse that Romans had been training for the Ramseys is Precious Kitten, a half-sister to Kitten's Joy. She is among the six or seven horses being sent to Frankel.

Romans said he regretted that his business relationship with the Ramseys was ending but said he was confident his public stable would still flourish.

"I'll be okay," said Romans, who still has more than 50 horses in his care for numerous other clients. "Forty-seven horses is a lot to replace, but I think we can do it. We're open for business."

Dating to the 2000 Churchill spring meet, Ken and Sarah Ramsey have won or tied for the leading owner 11 of the last 13 meets, while Romans has won or tied for leading trainer at eight of those meets.

Change Up likely Delta-bound

Change Up, winner of the Pocahontas Stakes here Sunday, probably will not run back in the Golden Rod Stakes on Nov. 25, closing day of the Churchill fall meet, but will be pointed instead to the $300,000 Delta Princess on Dec. 1 at Delta Downs, said trainer Steve Flint.

Besides being a big day for Change Up and Tiz Wonderful, romping winner of the Iroquois Stakes, opening day also was very good to jockey Garrett Gomez. Besides riding both stakes winners, Gomez also won two other races from a total of seven mounts on the "Stars of Tomorrow" card, which drew an ontrack crowd of 11,461 and an all-sources handle of nearly $11.6 million.

The "Stars of Tomorrow" concept, which devotes entire programs to

2-year-olds, was initiated last fall at Churchill by Doug Bredar, who since has been replaced as Churchill racing secretary by Ben Huffman. Bredar and his wife, Caton, were among the backstretch visitors here Monday morning. A second "Stars of Tomorrow" card of the meet will be run closing day.

Day bronze unveiled

Pat Day gave a brief and sometimes emotional speech Sunday afternoon following the unveiling of the bronze statue of his likeness. The retired Hall of Fame jockey was honored with a life-sized statue that will stand permanently in the clubhouse garden near the statue of Aristides, the first Kentucky Derby winner in 1875.

Toward the end of the 20-minute unveiling ceremony, Churchill officials announced that 14 smaller replicas of the Pat Day statue are now on sale on Ebay, with proceeds going to the Racetrack Chaplaincy of America and other charities of Day's choosing. Tony Schuler, a horse owner from Indiana, bought the first of those replicas for $20,000.

Thursday's Chilukki a good one

Wild Fit, Joint Effort, and Prospective Saint are among the 12 fillies and mares entered in an excellent Thursday feature at Churchill, the $150,000 Chilukki Stakes at one mile.

Wild Fit was the runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies last fall. Joint Effort, trained by Romans, has won three stakes this year, including the La Troienne and Dogwood at Churchill. Prospective Saint, a two-time stakes winner this year, is arguably the top filly or mare in training in south Florida.

The Grade 2 Chilukki, formerly known as the Churchill Downs Distaff, also drew four fillies who won an allowance race over the Keeneland Polytrack in their respective last start: Humorous Gal, Golden Locket, Indian Flare, and Mary Delaney.

The Chilukki is the first of six stakes that will surround the Breeders' Cup this week. The others are the $250,000 Cherokee Run and the $150,000 River City Handicap, both on Friday; the $200,000 Ack Ack Handicap and the $200,000 Very Subtle, the first two races on the Saturday card; and the $150,000 Cardinal Handicap on Sunday.

Mesawmi a contender for Byrne

Veteran trainer Patrick Byrne, who hit his career peak at Churchill nearly eight years ago when he sent out Awesome Again to win the 1998 Breeders' Cup Classic, has not reached such lofty heights since, but he is still in there fighting. On Wednesday, he will send out Mesawmi as a major contender in the featured ninth race, a $58,500 turf allowance for 3-year-olds and upward.

Mesawmi, owned by Stonerside Stable, is one of nine older horses in the one-mile feature.

* Churchill has added rolling daily doubles to its everyday wagering menu this fall. There is a $1 minimum wager on the doubles.