06/28/2005 11:00PM

71st Ohio Derby draws varied cast of eight


NORTH RANDALL, Ohio - A far-flung field of eight 3-year-olds from the United States and Canada passed the entry box here Wednesday and should make for an interesting 71st edition of the Grade 2, $350,000 Ohio Derby on Saturday.

Coming in from Belmont Park is Magna Graduate, who has been installed the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Magna Graduate, who will be making his first start for trainer Todd Pletcher, won the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park in March and in his last start finished fourth to Southern Africa in the Lone Star Derby. Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens has the mount.

Trainer Nick Zito will send Pinpoint in from Saratoga. Pinpoint was unplaced in the Belmont Stakes after setting the pace. Prior to that he reeled off three straight wins, including the Sir Barton Stakes at Pimilico. Pinpoint will be ridden by Larry Melancon.

Unbridled Energy ships in from Churchill Downs where he was second in the Northern Dancer Breeders' Cup in his last start. Unbridled Energy is trained by Elliott Walden and will have Richard Migliore in the saddle.

Straight Line is based at Arlington Park, where he won a one-mile allowance on June 2. In 2004 he won both the Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs and the Honest Pleasure at Arlington. Trainer Brian Williamson has engaged Chris Emigh to ride.

Trainer Roger Attfield will send in Palladio from north of the border. Paladio has won twice at the Ohio Derby distance of 1 1/8 miles. Top Canadian rider Richard Dos Ramos will be in from Woodbine.

Florida will be represented by Hal's Image, winner of the Unbridled Stakes at Calder on April 30. Carlos Olivero rides for trainer Barry Rose.

Silver Haze has won his last three races, all in Louisiana on the grass. E.J. Perrodin will handle Silver Haze for trainer Steve Wren.

Maryland-based It's Time to Smile finished third in the Deputed Testamony Stakes in his most recent race. Thistledown's leading rider Scott Spieth will be aboard for trainer Steven Brown.