01/31/2005 1:00AM

Two turf races may yield stakes horses

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ARCADIA, Calif. - With dry weather expected this week, Santa Anita is finally carding the sort of grass races the racing program lacked during a wet January.

Wednesday, two $52,000 races highlight the eight-race program. The races may serve as stakes preps for some runners.

The fourth race, an optional claimer over 1 1/4 miles, has drawn eight runners, including Ring of Friendship and Noble Kinsman, the first two finishers in the California Cup Starter Handicap last October.

The seventh race, an allowance race over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course, will be the second U.S. start for Katana, a group stakes winner in New Zealand in 2003 who finished second in her U.S. debut last October.

The seventh has drawn a stronger field. Of the nine fillies and mares, two are stakes winners - Allswellthatnswell and Katana - three have placed in stakes, and the other four have stakes experience.

races for Amerman Racing and trainer Bobby Frankel. She was beaten a neck in her U.S. debut over a mile on turf, the longest race of her career. Her stakes victory in New Zealand came over six furlongs.

won the Stanford Stakes on dirt for sprinters at Bay Meadows last April. She has not started since finishing third in the Manhattan Beach Stakes over 5 1/2 furlongs on turf at Hollywood Park last May.

Trained by Don Warren, Allswellthatnswell recorded a bullet six-furlong workout of 1:11 on Jan. 25 at Santa Anita, the fastest of 27 works at the distance.

The fourth race includes five horses available for a $40,000 claim: Blue Boat, Californian, Fade to Blue, Noble Kinsman, and Stratus.

will go favored. Trained by Paddy Gallagher, Ring of Friendship finished second in a one-mile allowance race for California-breds on turf at Hollywood Park on Dec. 10. In the California Cup Starter Handicap, he led throughout, setting a decent pace and holding off Noble Kinsman by a half-length.

has speed, which could hurt Ring of Friendship and help a stalker such as Logician or closers such as Noble Kinsman and Fade to Blue.

Fade to Blue won the Hasta La Vista Handicap over 1 7/8 miles on turf at Turf Paradise last May. Since then, he has run at several levels, ranging from a fourth in the Quicken Tree Stakes for California-bred turf marathoners last June at Hollywood Park to a win in a $12,500 claimer on turf at Golden Gate Fields on Nov. 28.