07/04/2005 11:00PM

Romans won't look past Million for Kitten's Joy


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Everybody else can talk about the future for Kitten's Joy. All that Dale Romans wants, however, is to get the turf star past his next start, the Aug. 13 Arlington Million.

"I'm refusing to look past that," said Romans. "Let's get through the Million, then we can talk."

Romans was quick to credit veterinarians Larry Bramlage and Steve Allday for the successful manner in which Kitten's Joy, the 2004 Eclipse champion on turf, returned to action Monday. Making his first start in more than eight months, Kitten's Joy was a prompt winner of the Grade 2 Firecracker Breeders' Cup Handicap at Churchill Downs. Bramlage performed knee surgery on Kitten's Joy last November, and Allday has supervised the colt's rehabilitation.

"They both did a tremendous job, especially when you see that the horse might be even better this year than last year," said Romans.

Breeder-owner Ken Ramsey has openly discussed overseas races such as the Arc de Triomphe, Melbourne Cup, and Japan Cup for Kitten's Joy this year, but Romans said he can't allow himself to think about those races until Kitten's Joy faces the usual rugged lineup in the Grade 1 Million at Arlington Park.

Asked what horses might prove toughest for Kitten's Joy this year, Romans mentioned Powerscourt and Better Talk Now, then said, "I think all that really matters is keeping this horse happy and sound and having him progress the way he has since he came back from the surgery. Obviously he's a great horse, a very special horse. The race Monday was exactly what we wanted. If he keeps going forward, I don't really know that it's going to matter who runs against us."

Sheehan's victory a long time coming

It had been a long, long time between proverbial drinks for Mike Sheehan - so when one of his horses finally won, Sheehan was very thirsty.

"My girlfriend and I went home and had a quiet night with a couple bottles of champagne," said Sheehan.

Sheehan, a longtime Louisville horse owner, had not won a race in 5 1/2 years until Creek Bay, a first-time starter trained by Bob DeSensi, won the last race here Saturday, returning a meet-high $134.20 win mutuel.

Sheehan once was accustomed to winning with regularity and was even the owner of Tenants Harbor, winner of the 1996 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill. But his luck had been very sour until Saturday.

"Thank God we finally got one," he said.

Locals expected for Claiming Crown

Officials at Canterbury Park in Minnesota say they are expecting seven horses from Kentucky to run in the seventh annual Claiming Crown series on July 16. Those horses are Mean Kisser, Montstar, My Extolled Honor, Never Skip, Onlyurimagination, Seventh Inning, and Wildcat Lady.

Pre-entries for the entire Claiming Crown card are scheduled for release Thursday.

Last of a breed

Maggie Slew, the final offspring of the great Seattle Slew, finished second behind Azevedo in her career debut in the third race Sunday.

Maggie Slew, a 2-year-old filly trained by David Vance, was one of just four foals from the final crop of Seattle Slew, who died May 7, 2002. Maggie Slew, out of the Alydar mare May Day Ninety, was bred and is owned by the Swifty Farms of Don and Dana Myers of Seymour, Ind.

Maggie Slew, ridden by Juan Molina Jr., raced in mid-pack before rallying to finish second by 1 3/4 lengths. Vance said the filly likely would make her next start "in about six weeks" at Monmouth Park, where Vance is taking a string this summer.

A television production crew from WLKY-TV, the CBS affiliate in Louisville, has been following Maggie Slew recently, filming a documentary for future airing.

Straight sevens

Sevens were mighty lucky here Sunday. From the second race to the sixth, every winner wore saddlecloth No. 7, a streak of five straight races.

Those winners were Ohparade ($4.80), Azevedo ($50.80), Chispiro ($45), Bluegrass Fever ($11.60), and Friendsturnedfoes ($15.80). Ending with races 4, 5, and 6, the respective pick three payoffs on 7-7-7 were $1,456.20, $5,091.20, and $2,591.

Good going public

John Good, a longtime employee and assistant under trainer Bob Baffert, is opening a public stable after the Churchill meet ends Sunday. Good, 26, has worked for Baffert for 7 1/2 years, most recently as his Churchill-based assistant.

A native of County Kildare, Ireland, who grew up near The Curragh, Good said he expects to have 12 or more horses in training at Churchill within the next week or so.

* Mark Guidry continues to be listed as day to day with a sore lower back, said his agent, Fred Aime. Guidry was thrown from his scheduled mount, Commander Robin, before Monday's third race. Guidry is scheduled to begin riding at his old stomping grounds, Arlington Park, after this meet ends.