04/04/2006 11:00PM

Terroplane could use a little luck

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Horsephotos
Santa Anita Derby contender Point Determined, with trainer Bob Baffert watching from the track apron, goes out for some light exercise Wednesday morning.

ARCADIA, Calif. - With a little more racing luck, Terroplane might have won a stakes this year.

Twice at this meeting in one-mile stakes on turf, Terroplane has launched a rally in early stretch that has fallen short. He finished second by a head in the Thunder Road Handicap on Feb. 8 and was fifth, beaten a length, in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile on March 4.

Saturday, Terroplane is back in the $150,000 Arcadia Handicap at a mile on turf. While he faces a stout group, Terroplane is once again well-prepared to contend for a win, trainer Neil Drysdale said.

"He's doing very well," Drysdale said. "We need a little bit of luck."

Owned by David Bienstock and Chuck Winner, Terroplane, 5, is arguably the best turf horse on the circuit without a stakes win. He has won 5 of 21 starts and $276,485, placing in four stakes since arriving from France in late 2003.

The loss in the Kilroe Mile was frustrating for Drysdale. Terroplane was last of 13 with a quarter-mile remaining and rallied wide in the stretch to finish behind Milk it Mick.

"He didn't have a very good trip," Drysdale said. "He got banged around leaving the gate and was widest of the lot" in the stretch.

In the Grade 2 Arcadia, Drysdale will also start Becrux, who is winless in four starts since scoring an upset in a division of the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar last summer.

Becrux finished third in an allowance race on the hillside turf course on March 15, his only start this year.

"He came on very well," Drysdale said. "He was a little boxed in when they came over the dirt. He's a nice horse."

Terroplane drew post 4 in a field of 10 that includes Milk It Mick and the millionaire Sweet Return, who won the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham and Eddie Read handicaps last summer.

Saturday's 11-race card is led by the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby. Aside from the Arcadia, there are two other one-mile turf stakes on the program - the $100,000 Providencia Stakes for 3-year-old fillies and the $98,000 American Beauty Stakes for fillies and mares.

The Providencia Stakes has drawn a field of nine, including Foxysox and Golden Silk, the first two finishers in the China Doll Stakes on March 11. Moscow Burning, unbeaten in two starts this year, will be a heavy favorite in the American Beauty.

Saturday's 11-race program begins at noon Pacific, and includes a guaranteed pick six pool of $1 million.

Two stakes options for Sam's Ace

Sam's Ace, who finished fourth in the $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park last Saturday in his stakes debut, is being considered for two lucrative races later this month - the $325,000 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 22 or the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes for California-breds at Hollywood Park on April 30.

The race chosen by owners Paul Reddam and Aron Wellman and trainer Doug O'Neill will determine whether Sam's Ace starts in the Kentucky Derby on May 6.

A start in the Lexington would give Sam's Ace a chance for the graded stakes earnings he would need to ensure a place in the Kentucky Derby. If the Derby draws more than 20 entrants, graded stakes earnings are used as a tiebreaker. Sam's Ace earned $60,000 in the Florida Derby and is 22nd in the graded stakes rankings.

A start in the Snow Chief Stakes would be too close to the Kentucky Derby, but could be a prep for the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 20.

"We think he belongs with the better 3-year-olds going long," O'Neill said. "With a little seasoning, he could be tough."

In the Florida Derby at 1 1/8 miles, Sam's Ace was near the pace throughout while racing wide and finished 5 3/4 lengths behind Barbaro.