02/28/2005 1:00AM

Carroll County seeks No. 4


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - The undefeated Carroll County seeks his fourth straight win Wednesday in Oaklawn's $35,000 allowance feature. A 4-year-old trained by Don Von Hemel, Carroll County will face seven others in the six-furlong sprint.

Two starts back, Carroll County beat Rodeo's Castle by three lengths in a one-other-than allowance on Jan. 21. Rodeo's Castle has since turned into a bit of a monster.

Since the loss to Carroll County, Rodeo's Castle has won a pair of allowance races, including a two-other-than allowance on Saturday. Rodeo's Castle earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 98 in both wins.

"I bet the rest of those guys in there with him [Saturday] felt a little bad when they saw he was in that race," Von Hemel said of Rodeo's Castle. "I know I'm not looking to hook up with him anytime soon."

will break from post 8 on Wednesday. The draw might help give his rider, Terry Thompson, some new options with the quick colt, who led throughout last time, when he won a two-other-than allowance and earned a Beyer Figure of 94.

"We need to learn to rate," said Von Hemel. "This horse has shown a lot of speed, and we're wanting to try to get him where he can go around two turns later on, so we'll try to take him back a little bit."

Carroll County, a son of Wild Rush, races for Charles and Scott Heider. All of his career races have come at Oaklawn.

His chief rivals include Wild Wild West, second in his last start to Carroll County. Wild Wild West is one of two Larry Jones-trained horses in the field. The other is Ruba Dub Dub.

will be making his second start back from a layoff, and will be ridden by Justin Shepherd. Tim Doocy has the mount on Ruba Dub Dub. The Jones horses run as separate betting interests.

has worked consecutive bullets in preparation for what will be his first start since October, when he was fifth in a Lone Star Park allowance at six furlongs that was timed in a blazing 1:08.60. Pike Place Gold, from the barn of leading trainer Cole Norman, merits consideration. He will be ridden by Jamie Theriot.

Also in the field are by El Ruller, who ships in from Fair Grounds for trainer Tom Amoss, Grin and Frown, Joe Six Pack, and Mahican.