07/03/2003 11:00PM

One unbeaten streak must end

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The last time Dogwood Stable had a 2-year-old win the Bashford Manor Stakes, the colt ended up a classic winner.

Summer Squall won the 1989 Bashford Manor by four lengths before finishing second in the Kentucky Derby and winning the Preakness the following spring. Let there be little doubt that Dogwood syndicate members would dearly love to see Limehouse embark on a similar path Sunday when the unbeaten colt races against five other 2-year-olds in the 102nd running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs.

Limehouse, along with recent Tremont Stakes winner Heckle, is one of two promising 2-year-olds that Dogwood has with trainer Todd Pletcher.

"I don't recall a time when we were quite in this position early on," Dogwood president Cot Campbell said.

Limehouse, by Grand Slam, is unbeaten in two career starts. He won his career debut at Keeneland, then impressed the Kentucky Derby Day crowd with a 1 1/4-length victory in his latest start, the Three Chimneys Juvenile. Robby Albarado, who has ridden Limehouse in both starts, will be back aboard Sunday.

To earn a third straight victory, Limehouse most likely will have to outrun Cuvee, a Carson City colt who has been sensational in winning his first two starts by a combined 14 1/2 lengths. Cuvee will break from post 1 and Limehouse from post 2 in the Bashford Manor at six furlongs, the longest race thus far for the entire field.

Trainer Steve Asmussen is confident that Cuvee will stay undefeated.

"He's had harder works than he's had races so far," said Asmussen. "No disrespect intended, but we've ridden him harder to the wire in the morning than in the afternoon."

One other unbeaten colt, Next Bandit, also is entered, although his credentials are not as flashy as those of the two favorites. Based at Lone Star Park with trainer Bret Calhoun, Next Bandit won the $150,000 TTA Sales Futurity in his last start.

The rest of the field is Bustin' Out, First Money, and Exploit Lad.

A victory by Bustin' Out would allow trainer D. Wayne Lukas to extend his Bashford Manor record to six wins.

The Bashford Manor is the highlight of an outstanding 11-race program on closing day of the 52-day spring meet. Five allowances also are carded, including a $50,600 allowance (race 4) that drew 2002 Kentucky Derby runner-up Proud Citizen. First post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.