06/16/2003 11:00PM

Ohio Derby field at 7


NORTH RANDALL, Ohio - Seven 3-year-olds, topped by Preakness runner-up Midway Road and undefeated Wild and Wicked, are expected for Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 Ohio Derby at Thistledown.

Other contenders include Crowned King, winner of the Rebel Stakes and USA Stakes this year; Hackendiffy, a winner of five stakes for Ohio-breds; and El Ruller, who has been stakes placed at Woodbine in his last two starts.

Also expected for the race are On the Border, whom trainer Steve Asmussen will ship in from Lone Star Park, and Miss Karry Thenews, a locally based filly who is coming off an allowance win over males.

Midway Road was under consideration for the Belmont Stakes following the Preakness, but trainer Neil Howard decided to give him more time and point for the Ohio Derby.

"He was full of run in his last work, a week ago," said Howard, referring to Midway Road's 1:13.20 six-furlong drill at Churchill Downs on June 9.

Midway Road, who will be ridden by Robby Albarado, is scheduled to arrive here by van on Wednesday.

Wild and Wicked, who is trained by Ken McPeek, is untested in two starts. He won a seven-furlong maiden race at Keeneland by 9 1/2 lengths and a 1 1/16-mile allowance race at Churchill Downs by 2 3/4 lengths. He is scheduled to be vanned here from Churchill on Thursday and will be ridden by Shane Sellers. Wild and Wicked breezed five furlongs in 1:01 at Churchill on Monday.

"He's coming up perfectly for the race," said McPeek. "I honestly believe he won't have any problem stepping up to stakes company off only a maiden and allowance race."

Crowned King was scheduled to arrive here Tuesday night after a plane ride from Texas and van trip from Louisville, Ky. Owned by brothers Billy and David McKeever, Crowned King won the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn in April and is coming off a come-from-behind turf victory in the $200,000 USA Stakes at Lone Star Park.

Chandra Rennie will come in to ride Crowned King, a headstrong stretch-runner. Rennie has been aboard the colt in his last five starts. "He seems to tolerate her better than anybody," joked Billy McKeever, who also trains Crowned King.

Crowned King worked a half-mile in 48 seconds at Louisiana Downs last Saturday.

Hackendiffy has been dominant in statebred company for trainer Bernie Flint but will be facing tougher horses Saturday.

El Ruller is winless in four starts this year but chased Queen's Plate contender Wando at Woodbine in his last two starts. He is trained by Arthur Silvera.

On the Border won a nonwinners of three allowance race three starts ago but has since been unplaced in the Lone Star Derby and USA Stakes.

Miss Karry Thenews won a nonwinners of two allowance race in her last start. She is trained by Katherine Price. She will attempt to become the first filly since Carter's Pride in 1952 to win the Ohio Derby.