03/03/2005 1:00AM

Chandtrue trying turf instead of traveling


ARCADIA, Calif. - His connections frustrated by expensive travel plans, Chandtrue will stay in California for Saturday's $100,000 Baldwin Stakes at Santa Anita and will not be sent to Gulfstream Park for the Swale Stakes the same day.

Trainer Bob Hess wanted to start Chandtrue in Saturday's Swale Stakes, but said he could not find satisfactory travel arrangements.

As a result, Chandtrue will make his turf debut, and first start since July, in the Grade 3 Baldwin, run at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course.

"I was having flight problems. It wasn't cost-effective," Hess said.

Hess said Chandtrue would have needed to be shipped by air cargo, and not via a horse transport plane, which was his preference. Plus, the Swale field is led by the daunting Lost in the Fog.

"If we're going to face Lost in the Fog, we want everything to be perfect," Hess said.

Chandtrue drew the outside post in the field of 11 3-year-olds in the Baldwin.

The change in surface is a concern for Hess, who would have preferred to run Chandtrue in the San Vicente Stakes on the main track on Feb. 13 if the colt had been ready.

"I'd rather not [run on turf], but he's ready to run," Hess said. "This is the lesser of two evils. He's very ready. He was nearly ready for the San Vicente."

Owned by Harold Greene, Chandtrue was unbeaten in four starts last year, including three sprint stakes at Hollywood Park. He won the Hollywood Juvenile Championship last July in his final start of 2004.

In the Baldwin, Chandtrue will likely be tested by Sunny Sky, who finished third in the Grade 3 Generous Stakes over a mile on turf in his U.S. debut. Now trained by Julio Canani, Sunny Sky was a minor stakes winner in France last November.

The Baldwin field includes three invaders from Europe and three colts that have raced in only the United States and have won on turf.

The Pheasant Flyer won two races on turf in England before finishing 12th in the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes in October. New trainer Jim Cassidy dismissed that loss, citing soft turf.

Eastern Sand will attract support. Trained by Jeff Mullins, Eastern Sand won an allowance race on turf at Calder last October and ran second in the Hill Rise Stakes over a mile on turf here on Jan. 15. That race was his first start for Mullins.

Meanwhile, there is a guaranteed $1 million pick-six pool on Saturday's card.

The pick six covers races 6 through 11, and each race has 10 or more entrants. The pick six includes an allowance race for sprinters, the Baldwin, an allowance race over 1 1/16 miles, the $300,000 Frank Kilroe Mile, the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap, and an allowance race over a mile on turf.

Track management raised the purses of the maiden, allowance, and optional claiming races with funding help from the California Marketing Committee in order to help attract big fields.