07/12/2001 12:00AM

Sardaukar tries East Coast talent


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Although Saturday's Bet Twice Stakes carries a purse of only $50,000, the race has attracted one of the toughest stakes fields of the meet. One of the more talented entrants is California invader Sardaukar.

Sardaukar, who ran in group stakes in France early in his career, makes his debut for trainer Alan Goldberg in the one-mile Bet Twice. Sardaukar had been racing for trainer Julio Canani in California.

Sardaukar has battled with the top turf horses in the nation out West the past two years. He ran second in the Grade 2 American Handicap last year to Dark Moondancer, and also finished second to Irish Prize in a money allowance last year. Sardaukar, a 5-year-old son of Royal Academy owned by R.D. Hubbard, enters the Bet Twice off a money allowance victory on May 27 at Hollywood, ending a seven-race losing skid that dated back to Aug. 5.

Sardaukar was sent to Goldberg, who has trained for Hubbard in the past, with the hope that he would pick up a few wins versus lesser company and return to his top form of last year.

"It is a good spot for him to get started," Goldberg said. "He hasn't breezed that great, but he looks pretty healthy and has been eating right. We will see how he does for me and go from there."

Sardaukar will carry 119 pounds and jockey Chuck Lopez.

Returning to Monmouth for the Bet Twice is Pavillon, the winner of the Grade 3 Red Bank Handicap here opening weekend. Pavillon, trained by Marty Wolfson, was entered in the Caesar Rodney Handicap at Delaware Park last Sunday, but scratched when the race came off the turf. So Wolfson sent Pavillon, a Brazilian-bred 7-year-old, to the barn of John Mazza here, and supplemented him to the Bet Twice for $100.

Wolfson said he was disappointed that the Caesar Rodney was taken off the turf in the morning at Delaware, and thought officials there could have waited to see if the course was going to dry out before making the decision.

"I was very upset because we had spent all that money getting him there and it was a MATCH race, and I felt they could have waited," he said.

Pavillon, a three-time Grade 1 winner at a mile in Brazil, has proved an exceptional purchase for Wolfson. Wolfson followed the career of Pavillon for more than a year, and when he ended up in claiming races in California, Wolfson's owner, Antonio Lemgruber, bought Pavillon privately. Pavillon, who will be ridden by Joe Bravo, has started three times for Wolfson, with the Red Bank victory, at 20-1, his best race for him.

I'm Sentimental will start on the turf and around two turns for the first time in the Bet Twice. Trained by Tim Hills, the 4-year-old I'm Sentimental won an allowance sprint here May 31 and a finished second to Max's Pal in the $75,000 Longfellow Stakes. Hills and owner Lawrence Foggle have been awaiting his debut on the turf since the winter.

"The race fits in well with his schedule, and he have wanted to stretch him out for awhile," said Hills. "He has a great temperament, which should allow him to relax on the turf."

I'm Sentimental has worked well on the turf, including a three-furlong Belmont workout in 35.60 seconds on May 10. Hills had considered running him in the Grade 3 Poker at Belmont on July 4, but decided to wait until the Bet Twice, which is a softer spot. Eibar Coa rides I'm Sentimental.

Sixteen horses were entered for the Bet Twice, but only 12 will start. Others entered are Watchman's Warning, El Mirasol, Buying Rain, La Reine's Terms, Brave One, Mi Narrow, Magical Madness, Cat Scan, Regal Bull, Crash Course, Rolled Stocking, Coastal Account, and Sea of Tranquility.