10/09/2006 12:00AM

Extraordinarily patient, his runners merit special consideration - especially on turf


Trainer John Terranova II, 36, is the first to admit his numbers aren't as impressive as he would like based on his prior success, but he said he does believe he currently has some young horses with quality in his barn and is poised to add some depth to his 20 head at Belmont Park with private purchases and/or claims in the near future.

"We are a little light in numbers this year," said Terranova, who currently has a record of 8-10-8 from 65 runners this year. "We do have some nice horses in the barn, and great clients behind them, and we'll be looking to pick up new clients and some more horses going forward. We've traditionally had people wanting to develop young horses, and we'll continue to do that, but that road is a tough one because you really need strength in numbers to play that game. We are going to look at claiming and we are in the process of looking in Europe at made horses to give us more action and more running horses."

Terranova, to his credit, displays great patience with his runners even though he maintains a relatively small stable and bettors must pay attention to his entries - particularly on turf, where his statistics seem best.

"I guess over the last year or two we've just been lucky with some nice grass runners," said Terranova, who is assisted by his wife, Tonja. "Charmsil is a very nice filly for us ,and she won a couple in a row after running third in the Sunshine Millions early this year. She popped a splint early this summer, but is training very well now. We'll try a stakes at the Meadowlands next and then her main goal will once again be the Sunshine Millions. Champagne Ending was another nice turf filly in the barn, but she had to be retired and will be sold at auction at Keeneland."

Champagne Ending, who was Grade 3-placed in her career, lit up the tote at odds of 46-1 when tried on turf for the first time in her career.

Shadow Caster, winner of the Grade 2 Forego Handicap in 2000 at a $103.50 payoff for Terranova and Gatsas Thoroughbreds, is the sire of Texas Shadow, a 2-year-old homebred gelding who recently made his debut at Belmont for the same connections. He finished fourth, beaten less than a length, at 53-1.

"I trained the sire and dam," Terranova said. "I knew this horse liked the turf, but I was not sure to what level - it now looks like he can run with the good ones and he has nothing but improve ahead of him."

At a young age, Terranova is still able to draw upon plenty of experience, having started training in his early 20's. "You learn every day in this game and come across new things all the time - you can never think you've seen it all," he said. "You just hope that you can get some good horses and good people in your barn, win some races, and give everyone the chance to have some fun along the way.

"We've trained for several syndicates or partnerships and we enjoy making time for our clients. It's nice to have visitors at the barn and for the races. The owners drive the game, we want them to have a good time, and our door is always open."

Terranova points to Gander, a popular gray gelding who won 15 races and more than $1.8 million in purses, as a personal career highlight.

"He was just a really neat horse," Terranova said. "He stood out wherever he went and was just a hard-knocking horse - a New York-bred legend really. He gave us a good try all the time and took us a lot of places. He raced competitively with the best, beat some good ones along the way, and earned plenty of money."