If trainer Billy Turner sends out Czaravich to win the $150,000 Whitney Stakes here Saturday, the victory would give further proof that some justice does exist in the world.

Turner already has enjoyed considerable success with the colt, who is probably the second-best thoroughbred in America, behind Spectacular Bid. Even the most cutthroat race trackers concede that Turner deserves every bit of this success, to atone for the injustices that have been done him in the past.

In 1976, when a 2-year-old named Seattle Slew burst into the racing scene and won the championship of his age group, Turner found himself unexpectedly in the limelight. Many skeptics harbored doubts that a relatively young, inexperienced trainer could handle the pressure and challenge of managing a horse through the Triple Crown series, but Turner laid all these doubts to rest.

He trained Slew cautiously, confidently and flawlessly. The colt won the Triple Crown with ease and emerged from the series with a nine-for-nine record. But while Turner was demonstrating his expertise, a strange change was coming over Seattle Slew's owners.

Mickey Taylor and Jim Hill had been likeable, unassuming young men when Slew embarked on his 3-year-old champion. But as the colt racked up his triumphs, the owners not only basked in his glory, they started to think that they were somehow responsible for it. They become almost megalomaniacal and began to wrest control of the horse from their trainer.

He trained Slew cautiously, confidently and flawlessly. The colt won the Triple Crown with ease and emerged from the series with a nine-for-nine record. But while Turner was demonstrating his expertise, a strange change was coming over Seattle Slew's owners.

Mickey Taylor and Jim Hill had been likeable, unassuming young men when Slew embarked on his 3-year-old campaign. But as the colt racked up his triumphs, the owners not only basked in his glory, they started to think that they were somehow responsible for it. They became almost megalomaniacal and began to wrest control of the horse from their trainer.

"Through the Belmont," Turner recalled this morning, "they never interfered with anything I did. But I knew inside that I was losing control of the horse. After the Belmont, when they suggested going to California in very positive terms, I knew I'd lost him."

The owners insisted that Slew go to Hollywood Park for a race, when Turner knew he needed a rest. His judgment was verified; Slew ran dismally and was trounced. But Taylor and Hill refused to acknowledge that their trainer had known best. They kept questioning his judgment, arguing with him, overruling him. And at the end of Slew's 3-year-old season, they fired him.

For the trainer, it was like seeing a turbulent marriage break up. Turner felt simultaneously pained and unburdened. "It's awfully difficult to lose a horse like that," he said, "but in this case it was a relief. It had gotten to the point where the enjoyment had gone out of training."

Turner had to suffer when he saw Slew run brilliantly as a 4-year-old, demonstrating that full extent of his ability. And he had to recognize a painful fact of life. The average trainer hopes to have what race trackers call "the big horse" once in a lifetime, if he is lucky. At the age of 38, Turner's career seemed headed straight downhill.

While Seattle Slew had been just a baby, a retired corporation executive named William Reynolds had written to Turner and said that he was sending a mare from England to Kentucky to be bred, and inquired whether Turner would care to train her foal. This was a long-range proposition, and the trainer didn't even think about it while he was embroiled in the Triple Crown wars. But in 1976, he took charge of the colt who had been produced by the mating of the mare Black Satin ii to the stallion Nijinsky.

His name was Czaravich, and he was the antithesis of the precocious Seattle Slew.

"He was just a big, floppy colt," Turner said, and was so uncoordinated that the trainer never raced him as a 2-year-old. "The first time we ran him as a 3-year-old, I entered him at a mile and three-sixteenths, because I figured that even if he walked out of the gate, stumbled, fell and bucked the rider he'd still have time to win. That's pretty much the way it happened."

Czaravich won five of his eight races as a 3-year-old. "He showed indications of real ability," Turner said, but he still wasn't mature. This year, though, his mind is on his competition."

Czaravich has won three of his four-starts this year, displaying ample ability and determination. He won the prestigious Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont in a photo finish that took the placing judges nine minutes to decide. His only loss came in a three-horse photo finish in the Suburban Handicap, when he was spotting 13 pounds to the victorious Winter's Tale and 10 pounds to runner-up State Dinner.

He faces the same rivals here Saturday, but this time he is getting a three-pound concession from Winter's Tale and giving only three to State Dinner. That should make Czaravich and Billy Turner winners again.