03/15/2002 1:00AM

Cashel Castle starting year


, a dominating winner of three starts last year at 2, including the Hoosier Juvenile, in which he was given a Beyer Speed Figure of 108, will make his 3-year-old debut in Sunday's seventh race at Sportsman's Park, a three-other-than allowance at six furlongs.

Cashel Castle's seasonal debut has been postponed twice this year. He had shipped from Ocala, Fla., to Gulfstream Park for the Hutcheson Stakes, but was withdrawn a few days before the race because of a slight injury. His next scheduled appearance, an allowance on the first Saturday of the Sportsman's meet, was canceled when a snowstorm created unsafe track conditions.

Many observers thought Cashel Castle talented enough to become a prospect for the Kentucky Derby, but trainer Chris Block said any hopes of aiming for the Derby were dashed when Cashel Castle missed the Hutcheson.

"To be a Derby contender, you really can't miss any races," said Block. "The Hutcheson was going to be our springboard to the Tampa Bay Derby, but we missed it. After that we decided not to push him to make the Derby. He could turn out to be nice seven-eighths or middle-distance horse."