04/27/2006 12:00AM

Classy Saint Stephen in good spot in Clark


Saint Stephen, winless in nearly a year but good enough to have finished within four lengths of the winner in three graded stakes since June, may have found a suitable spot to regain some confidence in Saturday's $85,000 Henry S. Clark Stakes at Pimlico.

The one-mile turf race drew a field of 10 older horses, including two coupled entries.

A 6-year-old trained by Christophe Clement, Saint Stephen's last victory came in a high-priced optional claimer at Belmont Park in mid-May of 2005. He didn't disgrace himself when he was beaten just three lengths despite traffic trouble in the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap and only 3 3/4 lengths despite having to check after getting bumped early in the Grade 3 Tropical Turf Handicap at Calder.

Saint Stephen's best effort in two starts this year came when he finished fourth by 1 1/2 lengths in the Grade 3 Appleton Handicap at Gulfstream Park in early January.

Two horses who could be dangerous if they are ready to fire first time back from a layoff are Tam's Terms and Battle Chant.

Tam's Terms, coupled with Foufa's Warrior for trainer Larry Murray, went 0 for 6 last year but owns a 3-for-5 record over Pimlico's grass course. Tam's Terms, 8, was a distant eighth as the even-money favorite in the 2005 Clark off a similar layoff.

Battle Chant, trained by Graham Motion, was sharp last spring and summer, when he won twice, including the 1 1/8-mile Schapiro Memorial BC Handicap at Laurel. He has been idle since finishing 10th as the 2-1 favorite in the Laurel Turf Cup last November.

Last spring, Battle Chant won a one-mile optional claimer at Pimlico after being off since the previous October.

Triple X., one of two horses entered by trainer Ann Merryman, owns a 6-for-12 record on grass, mostly against non-stakes company. He finished 5 1/2 lengths behind Battle Chant in the Schapiro and 1 1/2 lengths in front of that rival in the Laurel Turf Cup.

Rubi Echo, third in last year's Clark, made a middle move to pass four horses and gain 4 1/2 lengths in his first grass race of 2006 a month ago. He is 0 for 10 on turf, however.