03/27/2004 12:00AM

Laurel: Water Cannon fires

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Water Cannon dominated five foes Saturday en route to a 3 3/4-length win in the Private Terms.

How good is Water Cannon? That was the question at Laurel Park in Maryland after Water Cannon toyed with five foes, winning the $60,000 for 3-year-olds by 3 3/4 lengths under a hand ride.

Trained by Linda Albert and ridden with supreme confidence by Ramon Dominquez, Water Cannon won his fourth consecutive start and did it without being asked for anything close to his best.

A gelded son of Waquoit, Water Cannon ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.42 and paid $3.80.

Mahican, a 6-1 shot, cleared the field early and led by two lengths after a quarter-mile, while Dominquez nursed a slow-breaking Water Cannon along in fifth, 6 1/2 lengths off the leader.

Acclimate and Water Cannon both closed in on Mahican after a half-mile, and by the time they started the turn Water Cannon was in front and pulling away. In the stretch, Dominquez stood in his stirrups atop Water Cannon, twice turning his head to make sure that nothing was coming.

Acclimate held second, completing an $18.40 exacta.

Albert indicated Water Cannon will likely run next in the $100,000 Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico on April 17, and after that, possibly the Preakness.

"Waquoit progeny generally run longer and take a while to develop," she said. "You can't help but get excited about the way he performed today."