05/07/2003 12:00AM

Romans's time starts right now


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - It didn't take Dale Romans long to make it known that he intends to be in the thick of the race for top trainer at Churchill Downs once again. Romans, who owns the unusual distinction of having tied for the training title at each of the last three spring meets, won the first race of the 2003 meet with Glitter Act.

Friday, when Churchill conducts its first twilight card of the year, Glitter Act figures to be among the top contenders in the feature race, a $43,500 entry-level allowance that goes as the ninth of 10 races.

"We've always thought that filly could run a little bit," Romans said.

When racing resumed here Wednesday, 45 days remained at the meet. That long post-Derby stretch should give Romans - who has as many horses as anyone to run during the next nine weeks - an opportunity to start winning in bunches. Bobby Frankel's six wins led all trainers after Derby week, but it is Romans, with three Derby week wins, who must be considered the favorite to eventually top the standings.

Glitter Act, owned by Richard and Nancy Kaster, drew the outside post in a field of seven fillies scheduled to run one mile in the Friday feature. In the maiden sprint that opened the meet, Glitter Act also started from the outside post.

If Glitter Act, by Glitterman, is unable to negotiate the longer distance, then any of a handful of rivals is eligible to defeat her, including Blues in Seattle and Jimani.

First post Friday is 2:45 p.m. Eastern.

Posse to try Matt Winn

Two of the fastest 3-year-old sprinters in training are expected to clash here Saturday in the first post-Derby stakes of the spring meet, the $100,000 Matt Winn Stakes.

Posse, winner of the Lafayette Stakes at Keeneland last month, and Zavata, who early in his 2-year-old season led his division, are two of six or seven horses likely to run in the six-furlong Matt Winn.

Other prospects include Battle Won, Bossanova, Cajun Beat, Cat Genius, and Risky Cat.

Churchill Downs T-shirts will be given away with the first 7,500 paid admissions Saturday.

* Trainer Steve Morguelan is expected to be hospitalized until the end of next week after undergoing surgery for pancreatic cancer Tuesday.

A family friend said doctors were pleased with how the surgery proceeded and that the long-term prognosis for Morguelan is positive.