03/05/2003 1:00AM

El Camino field likely to be eight


ALBANY, Calif. - A field of eight now appears likely for Saturday's $200,000 Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields.

On Wednesday, trainer Bobby Frankel decided to send Peace Rules to Fair Grounds to run in the Louisiana Derby and trainer Mike Machowsky opted not to run Southern Image. Trainer Wally Dollase will enter Ten Most Wanted, who came out of a Saturday work with a minor problem that has now been remedied.

Also scheduled to run are Ministers Wild Cat, Crackup, Mr. Technique, Ocean Terrace, Onebadshark, Ozzie Cat, and Winning Stripes.

While most eyes are on Ministers Wild Cat coming into the race, they may be on Ocean Terrace afterward.

Ocean Terrace and Ministers Wild Cat have some things in common.

Both made their career debut Dec. 26, albeit in different 6 1/2-furlong maiden races at Santa Anita. Ocean Terrace, who led by a head at the eighth pole of his race, ended up in a dead heat for first with Nation Wide News, five lengths in front of the third-place finisher.

Ministers Wild Cat ran second in his division, beaten three lengths by Southern Image, who ran a faster final time than Ocean Terrace. Ministers Wild Cat earned a higher Beyer than Ocean Terrace (90 to 85).

A second similarity is both won at seven furlongs in their second start, each earning a 100 Beyer.

In his third career start, Ministers Wild Cat won the Golden State Mile here. Ocean Terrace, a $700,000 Keeneland yearling purchase owned by San Francisco Bay Area residents Bill Bianco and David Shimmon (of Fog City Stable), makes his stakes and two-turn debut when he starts for the third time Saturday.

"In a perfect world, he would have run in a two-turn allowance race before trying it in a stakes race," trainer Bob Hess Jr. said. "All that being said, I love the horse."

Besides liking Ocean Terrace's breeding (by Saint Ballado out of a Halo mare), Hess said what attracted him and his clients to the colt is that he is "perfectly made."

"Looks don't win races, but physically, he's the most perfect horse you'll see," Hess said. "He's a good athlete, too. But he's got a lot prove."

Kent Desormeaux has ridden both colts in all of their starts. On Saturday he will ride Ministers Wild Cat, while Mike Smith takes the call on Ocean City.

Sprinters battle

Fog City Willy, who won 7 of 10 starts last year and his lone start this year, meets A Bunch of Maniacs and Court Shenanigans, each of whom won five races last year, in a six-furlong $12,500 starter allowance that shapes up as the most interesting race on Friday's card. Also in the race is Time for Liberty, who comes off two straight wins.