03/31/2003 12:00AM

Better things next?


ARCADIA, Calif. - On Wednesday at Santa Anita, two promising colts who have yet to appear in stakes will run in a $56,000 allowance race over a mile, possibly earning trips to important races.

Touch the Wire, second to Wood Memorial hopeful During in an optional claimer March 12, is the likely favorite in a field of six that includes McCann's Mojave, who is unbeaten in two sprints. Their main competition is Seattlespectacular, a Seattle Slew colt who won a maiden race over a mile on March 15 in his fourth career start.

Touch the Wire, trained by Craig Dollase, could run in the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 19 if he impresses his connections on Wednesday.

"I don't want to get ahead of myself, but if he runs well, we can go in the Lexington," Dollase said. "I have to be positive."

Touch the Wire ran an impressive race when second by three-quarters of a length on March 12, his first try around two turns.

"He really showed us a lot," Dollase said. "We expect a big run."

Both of McCann's Mojave's races came against California-breds over six furlongs. He beat maidens on Dec. 29 and won a first-condition allowance race on March 5. In the allowance, he stalked the pace to the final furlong and pulled away for an eye-catching three-length win under jockey Kent Desormeaux.

"I believe he'll stretch out until he shows us he can't," trainer Leonard Dorfman said. "According to Desormeaux, he'll relax."

While McCann's Mojave can be near the front, he is likely to stalk the pace. Touch the Wire will be close to the front, as will First Class Trip, who won a maiden race for $50,000 claimers on Feb. 26 by nine lengths.

If Touch the Wire races close to the pace it is not a concern for Dollase.

"He doesn't have to be on the lead, but if he's out there so be it," Dollase said.

* In the seventh race, Okawango will attempt to win his first race in the U.S., a $65,000 allowance race over 1 1/4 miles on turf. Trained by Richard Mandella, Okawango was fourth and third in two allowance races in his first two starts in this country. The 5-year-old Okawango won the Group 1 Grand Criterium in France in 2000.

for Santa Anita entries.

:: Subscribers: to purchase past performances for Santa Anita.

:: Non-subscribers: to purchase past performances for Santa Anita.