03/10/2005 12:00AM

Outside shots for all

Scipion, with Julien Leparoux up, works out at Santa Anita on Thursday. He comes into the Louisiana Derby off a victory in the Risen Star Stakes.

NEW ORLEANS - Ken McPeek is right where he wants with Kansas City Boy, on the outside looking in.

When Kansas City Boy drew an inside post for last Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park, McPeek decided to scratch him, hoping he would get the outside post he believes Kansas City Boy prefers in Saturday's Grade 2, $600,000 at Fair Grounds.

There was no Plan C.

"If he'd have drawn the 1, I'd have run anyway," McPeek said Thursday.

Instead, Kansas City Boy drew the outside post in a field of nine for the 1 1/16-mile Louisiana Derby, which offers a fascinating comparison among 3-year-olds based in various jurisdictions this winter.

From Delaware, by way of Florida, comes High Limit, unbeaten in two starts, and untested at this level. From California comes Scipion, who invaded Fair Grounds last month to capture the Risen Star Stakes, the major prep for the Louisiana Derby. From New York, by way of California, comes Sort It Out, the winner of Aqueduct's Whirlaway Stakes.

The locals include Storm Surge, who won the Lecomte and was third in the Risen Star, and Real Dandy, the Risen Star runner-up.

"It's going to be a great race," said Dallas Stewart, the trainer of Storm Surge.

The Louisiana Derby is the sixth race on an 11-race card. It is the first leg of an all-stakes pick four that includes two other graded stakes, the Fair Grounds Oaks and New Orleans Handicap. And the Louisiana Derby will be shown live on ESPN2, beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern.

Kansas City Boy has won just once in seven starts, but he comes off an excellent effort in Gulfstream's Holy Bull Stakes, in which he finished second. The third-place finisher, High Fly, came back to win the Fountain of Youth.

After scratching from last Saturday's race, Kansas City Boy came back Sunday morning at Gulfstream and flew through a five-furlong work in 58.20 seconds, the best time of 23 at the distance.

"His work last Sunday was a monster," McPeek said from Gulfstream Park. "If he runs back to that, he'll be tough."

McPeek's obsession with posts stems from his belief that Kansas City Boy will relax better if he can sit off horses. In a further attempt to get the colt to settle early, he will race without the blinkers he has worn in his last six starts.

"His last two races, we had cut them back quite a bit," McPeek said. "He wasn't wearing any more than a one-inch cup. I put them on him because he's quirky, but they really didn't help. With this post, and the way I want him to run, blinkers off is ideal."

High Limit won both his starts at Delaware last year in front-running fashion. This will be his first start in more than four months, but he has trained well at Palm Meadows in Florida for his trainer, Bobby Frankel.

"To me he feels like a good horse, a very good horse," Jose Cuevas, Frankel's top exercise rider, said Thursday morning at Fair Grounds. "I've been getting on him every day. He might be the real deal."

High Limit, Kansas City Boy, and Storm Surge all like to race on or near the lead, and Vicarage, who is coming out of sprints, also figures to be forwardly placed. One beneficiary of a speed duel could be Scipion, who rallied from last in the 11-horse Risen Star.

"In all the Derby preps, it's very rare you find a race with no pace at all," said Patrick Biancone, who trains Scipion.

Real Dandy is a one-run horse who also will be hoping for a crackling pace.

"He's a very workmanlike horse," said Steve Asmussen, who trains Real Dandy. "He's a local horse going for a very big check. We've had some luck in this race with similar types."

Asmussen won the Louisiana Derby in 2001 with Fifty Stars, and was second in 2002 with Easyfromthegitgo.

Sort It Out will be making his first start since being acquired by Bob and Janice McNair's Stonerside Stable and moved to trainer Bob Baffert, for whom Sort It Out had a sharp workout on Monday at Santa Anita. This will be his first start outside of New York, where he was bred.

Wallstreet Scandal has the look of a live longshot. He is a winner on dirt, and heads into this race off a comeback victory on the turf at Gulfstream.

Indy Storm captured his debut at Calder, but since then has lost a pair of first-level allowance races at Gulfstream.

The field

Louisiana Derby
Purse: $600,000; 1 1/16 miles; Grade 2

1Sort It OutR. Albarado6-1
2Storm SurgeJ. Bailey6-1
3High LimitR. Dominguez5-2
4Real DandyD. Meche8-1
5Indy StormL. Melancon20-1
6Wallstreet ScandalR. Bejarano10-1
7ScipionG. Stevens4-1
8VicarageJ. Velazquez10-1
9Kansas City BoyB. Blanc5-1

* All starters carry 122 pounds
* Blinkers off: Kansas City Boy
* Odds are track's morning line
* Television: Saturday, 4 p.m. Eastern, ESPN2