11/27/2003 1:00AM

Imports have inside track on locals

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - A trio of promising European imports takes on a group of late-developing locals, including budding rivals Rush Into Heaven and Lucky Pulpit, in Saturday's $100,000 Generous Stakes. The large field in the Grade 3 Generous presents a navigational challenge for the jockeys on the dozen 2-year-olds and those who will bet on them.

At one mile on turf, the Generous starts close to the hairpin first turn, so horses with outside boxes will have to work out a trip to be competitive. Those with inside draws, by contrast, should be able to save valuable ground.

Imports Castledale and Dealer Choice landed two of the first three posts, with the other European, Terroplane, in post 7.

Castledale recently arrived from Ireland and is now trained by Jeff Mullins, for whom Castledale turned in a sharp workout on the turf Sunday. Castledale has finished in the money in six of seven starts.

Dealer Choice never finished worse than second in four starts in France before he was acquired by John Amerman, who turned Dealer Choice over to trainer Bobby Frankel.

"He ran against some good horses in Europe," Frankel said. "He just came in this week. My French people tell me they made a good buy. The form of the races he's been in has held up."

Terroplane also raced four times in France, where he won his last two starts before being bought and transferred to trainer Neil Drysdale. Terroplane arrived in October and has had several works over the local turf in preparation for the Generous.

Rush Into Heaven and Lucky Pulpit are the best of the home team. They finished one-two in a rough running of the Pinjara Stakes at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting Nov. 1, with Rush Into Heaven winning by a nose.

The Pinjara marked the first time on turf, and the first time around two turns, for Rush Into Heaven. His trainer, Paul Aguirre, said he expects Rush Into Heaven to continue to improve with added distance.

"His family all wanted to go longer," Aguirre said Thursday morning. "I have been wanting to route him. The way he acts, the longer the better.

"I thought he ran pretty good in the Pinjara. He was seven or eight wide into the stretch, got bumped late, but kept to his task. The main thing about him is that he's so professional. I don't know how much ability he has, but he's got the right mindset. He waits until you ask him to run, and that's going to take him a long way."

Lucky Pulpit just missed catching Rush Into Heaven in the Pinjara after getting blocked twice in the stretch.