03/28/2006 12:00AM

Turf return could cure Two Trails

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ALBANY, Calif. - Trainer Terry Knight has been waiting to get Two Trails back on turf ever since he won a straight maiden race on the Bay Meadows grass in September. Knight may get his wish Thursday, when Two Trails runs in a $40,000 starter allowance at 1 1/16 miles, which is scheduled for the turf.

Knight claimed for $32,000 from his debut last summer. In his first start for Knight, Two Trails won a 7 1/2-furlong turf race, holding off the talented Sweet Roberto by a head.

Knight said he isn't sure what to expect Thursday, because Two Trails has puzzled him with three mediocre efforts, all on dirt, since his maiden victory.

"The way he ran the time he ran on grass was impressive, but I haven't seen that in his other races," he said. "It's been frustrating."

Following his maiden win, Two Trails ran in the Bay Meadows Juvenile in October, finishing sixth to Kentucky Derby hopeful Cause to Believe. Freshened for two months, he ran fourth as the favorite in a $40,000 starter allowance after breaking poorly and getting into early trouble. He finished third in the mud at Bay Meadows in his last start, Jan. 19, turning in an even effort while racing wide most of the way.

Knight has again given Two Trails a two-month breather, and takes off the blinkers he added two races back. Two Trails also has been gelded since his last start.

"He's worked good and trained well for this," said Knight, pointing to a six-furlong work in 1:11.80 on March 23.

Knight said he hopes the race stays on the grass, a rarity here lately with all the recent rain. According to Knight, Russell Baze, who has ridden Two Trail in four of his five starts and rides again Thursday, said that Two Trail doesn't handle a wet track well.

"I want to run him on turf, but if it comes off I may have to run anyway, because it could be another month before he'd get another chance to run on turf," Knight said.

Two Trails drew post 7 in a field of eight 3-year-olds. There is plenty of speed in the race, which should make his late kick more effective. Likely to provide the pace are .