02/09/2005 1:00AM

Harlington has 10 rivals in Risen Star


NEW ORLEANS - Harlington, the undefeated Unbridled colt trained by Todd Pletcher, drew post 10 and was installed as the 3-1 favorite for Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 when a field of 11 was entered on Wednesday. Harlington will be ridden by John Velazquez in the 1 1/16-mile Risen Star, the feature race on Louisiana Derby Preview Day at Fair Grounds.

The Risen Star is the final local prep for the March 12 Louisiana Derby, a major stepping-stone to the . Louisiana Derby Preview Day also includes the Grade 3 Silverbulletday for 3-year-old fillies, the Grade 3 Mineshaft for 4-year-olds and up, and the Taylor's Special, a 7 1/2-furlong turf stakes.

Rush Bay, second in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs last November, is the second choice on the track's morning line for the Risen Star at 9-2.

A few eyebrows were raised at the post-position draw when the Dallas Stewart-trained Storm Surge, who has won the Sugar Bowl and Lecomte stakes this meet, was listed as the 5-1 third choice.

"I was surprised to see Storm Surge as the third choice," said trainer Steve Asmussen, who entered a pair of horses, Smooth Bid and Real Dandy. Smooth Bid finished second to Storm Surge in the Lecomte.

"I guess they didn't think much of [the Lecomte]," said Asmussen.

Storm Surge drew post 3, giving his jockey, Robby Albarado, an opportunity to establish a good stalking position.

"The post position is fine," said Stewart. "It looks like there's a bit of everything in the race, some speed, good closers. I don't mind that he's not the favorite. We're 2 for 2 over the track, so I'll take that edge."

Asmussen said Smooth Bid will likely argue the pace from his inside post. The late-running Real Dandy, who drew post 9, is not as advanced as Smooth Bid, but Asmussen has high hopes for him.

"I entered him because I think he's my best chance at the Louisiana Derby," Asmussen said of Real Dandy.

Other contenders include Iced Out, the runner-up in the Grade 2 San Rafael at Santa Anita, and Buzzards Bay, winner of Golden Gate Derby. Also in from California are Silent Bid, who is trained by D. Wayne Lukas, and the Patrick Biancome-trained Scipion. Nick Zito will send Electric Light in from Florida. Bold Lion completes the field.

The Silverbulletday has the promising Summerly, trained by Asmussen and listed as the 5-2 favorite; the Neil Howard-trained Private Gift; and The Beter Man Can and Enduring Will, one-two in the Tiffany Lass.

Pollard's Vision, trained by Pletcher, was named the favorite in the Mineshaft, followed by Alumni Hall and Colonial Colony.