03/21/2002 1:00AM

Beulah: More Ohio 3-year-olds


GROVE CITY, Ohio - With top Ohio-breds Harlan's Holiday and U S S Tinosa tackling the best in the nation on the East and West Coasts and possibly heading to the Kentucky Derby, eight 3-year-olds who have stayed home will vie for top prize in the six-furlong $40,000 Howard B. Noonan Stakes at Beulah Park Saturday.

Watch Me Fire, the only stakes winner in the field, with a 6 1/2-length victory in the Loyalty at Thistledown in August, heads the field, making his first start of the year for trainer Bill Napier.

Watch Me Fire finished second, beaten one length by U S S Tinosa here in the $75,000 Best of Ohio Juvenile championship in October. Watch Me Fire closed out his campaign finishing second, beaten a neck, in the Ohio Freshman stakes Nov. 18. Watch Me Fire has a record of 2-3-0 from nine starts, good for more than $66,000 in earnings.

If Watch Me Fire fails to fire off the layoff, Highland Rim figures as the most likely winner in the Noonan. Highland Rim completed his 2-year-old campaign in August, finishing second behind Harlan's Holiday in the Hoover Stakes at River Downs. U S S Tinosa was third in the race.

Highland Rim made a successful 3-year-old debut here March 8. Highland Rim will be coupled with Give Me Cash in the wagering.