03/09/2004 1:00AM

Eight for Tampa Bay Derby


Kentucky Derby hopefuls Limehouse and Swingforthe-fences will head a field of eight 3-year-olds expected to start in Sunday's $250,000 Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar, Fla.

Limehouse enters the 1 1/16-mile, Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby off a convincing 2 1/4-length victory in the seven-furlong Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 14. The outing was the first for Limehouse since his third-place finish to Eurosilver in the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity on Oct. 4.

Swingforthefences has the same connections as Read the Footnotes, who will be favored in the $1 million Florida Derby on Saturday at Gulfstream. Swingforthefences, trained by Rick Violette, comes off his best effort yet, a 5 1/4-length entry-level allowance victory at Gulfstream on Feb. 14.

Trainer Todd Pletcher has lined up Pat Day to ride Limehouse while Edgar Prado will be aboard Swingforthefences for the first time. Among the others considering the Tampa Bay Derby are Kaufy Mate and Zakocity, first and third in Tampa's Sam Davis Handicap on Feb. 21; Very Formal M.D.; Capejinsky; Misguided Left; and Tap Dancer.