06/10/2004 12:00AM

Limehouse class of Ohio Derby


NORTH RANDALL, Ohio - Limehouse is not only the most accomplished runner in Saturday's $350,000 Ohio Derby, but he should also be suited by the expected quick pace of the 1 1/8-mile race.

A son of Grand Slam owned by Dogwood stable, Limehouse has competed in stakes in nine of his 10 career starts. He has won five times, including the Grade 2 Hutcheson and Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby this year and the Grade 3 Bashford Manor as a 2-year-old.

In his last start, Limehouse finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby, beaten eight lengths by Smarty Jones. He has been working at Belmont Park for trainer Todd Pletcher and appears to be coming into the Grade 2 Ohio Derby in peak condition.

"Limehouse had a bullet work last Sunday morning at Belmont Park, five furlongs in a minute flat," said Cot Campbell, president of Dogwood Stable. "He's fit and aggressive around the barn, the latter just what we like to see leading up to a race."

Limehouse, who will be ridden by Jose Santos, has tactical speed, and the abundance of speedsters in this nine-horse field should set up his late move nicely.

Limehouse is the co-highweight at 121 pounds along with Pollard's Vision, who is also trained by Pletcher.

Pollard's Vision, a Carson City colt, was with the pace for a half-mile in the Kentucky Derby, his last start, before tiring to finish 17th. In his prior race he led every step of the way to win the nine-furlong Illinois Derby.

Pollard's Vision is expected to set the pace, along with Trieste's Honor, Dashboard Drummer, and possibly one or two others.

Eibar Coa will come in from Monmouth Park to ride Pollard's Vision.

Trieste's Honor has won his last three races, including the California Derby. Michael Matz has taken over the training of Trieste's Honor and has given the son of Old Trieste three workouts at his base in Fair Hill, Md.

Russell Baze has been aboard for all three of Trieste's Honor's career victories and will fly in from California to ride.

Dashboard Drummer finished second last time out in the Sir Barton Stakes after making the lead in midstretch. Allen Iwinski trains and regular rider Ramon Dominguez has the mount.

Water Cannon, who will be ridden by Thistledown's leading rider, Huber Villa-Gomez, and Brass Hat also may contribute to the pace. Completing the field is Turf Paradise Derby winner Mambo Train, local hopeful Jandemar, and Great Lakes Downs-based Avid Skier.

The Ohio Derby will be televised live on ESPN from 4-6 p.m. Eastern.

There are three stakes on the Ohio Derby undercard:

* Eternal Cup, trained by Steven Asmussen, heads a field of eight in the $40,000 Scarlet Carnation, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares.

* Cat Singer, Your Abc's, and Secret Romeo, who is cross-entered in the Wolverine Stakes at Great Lakes Downs Saturday, appear to be evenly matched in the $40,000 Isi Newborn Memorial.

* In the $45,000 J. William Petro Memorial, Outrageous Queen heads a field of nine Ohio-bred fillies and mares.