03/27/2002 12:00AM

Stardan looking to catch a break

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ARCADIA, Calif. - So far, luck has deserted Stardan since his arrival in the United States last fall.

In his U.S. debut on Feb. 23, Stardan lost a shoe and was no factor in an allowance race. On Friday, the 4-year-old Stardan is entered at Santa Anita in a $57,000 allowance race over a mile on turf, but is stuck on the also-eligible list and needs a scratch to join the field.

The race drew 13 entrants, but only 10 are allowed to start, because the temporary turf rail is set 30 feet from the permanent position, reducing the width of the course.

Stardan was beaten 7 1/2 lengths by The Tin Man on Feb. 23, but never had a chance, according to his trainer, Ron Ellis. Gary Stevens, who was aboard on Feb. 23, is booked to ride on Friday.

"Sometimes, they lose a shoe and they're okay, but Gary said he lost it when they turned down the backstretch," Ellis said. "When we bought him, he was a 3-year-old that was just developing. He's trained really well since his last race."

Now, Stardan needs a chance to prove himself.

The race has drawn several horses with stakes experience, including Apache Wings, Irish Warrior, Leave Us Leap, and Zanapour.

Leave Us Leap may go favored. Trained by Bobby Frankel, the 6-year-old Leave Us Leap was second to Ringaskiddy in an allowance race on Jan. 27. Ringaskiddy subsequently finished fourth, beaten a half-length, in the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes on March 16.

Leave Us Leap has yet to win in nine starts for Frankel, but has been second in three races for him. He was third in a Group 3 race in France in 2000.

Irish Warrior will be well-supported. A 4-year-old colt, Irish Warrior was second in the Half Moon Bay Stakes at Bay Meadows last September, but tailed off later in the year, finishing fourth in the Bay Meadows Derby and seventh in the Sir Beaufort Stakes. He has since worked well for trainer Wally Dollase.

Five of the entrants ran in the ninth race on Feb. 23, including Stardan. Black Silk, J.T.'s Song, Key Document, and Zanapour finished second through fifth and return on Friday.

J.T.'s Song was making his turf debut in that race and was beaten 3 1/2 lengths by The Tin Man. Chris McCarron retains the ride on the 5-year-old J.T.'s Song.

Zanapour made his U.S. debut on Feb. 23, and was not a factor after a slow start. Trained by Julio Canani, Zanapour was stakes-placed in France last year.

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