06/08/2004 11:00PM

Pletcher duo Ohio Derby heavies


NORTH RANDALL, Ohio - Nine were entered Wednesday morning for Saturday's 70th running of the Grade 2 Ohio Derby. The purse this year is $350,000, an increase of $50,000.

Limehouse, Pollard's Vision, and Trieste's Honor will vie for favoritism in the 1 1/8-mile race. Limehouse and Pollard's Vision, both trained by Todd Pletcher, will ship in from New York and race as separate betting interests.

Trieste's Honor will be making his first start for trainer Michael Matz and is now based in Fair Hill, Md. Trieste's Honor, who has made all eight of his career starts in California, was previously trained by Mike Puype.

Under the allowance conditions of the Ohio Derby, Limehouse and Pollard's Vision are co-highweighted at 121 pounds and will spot their rivals from six to nine pounds. Trieste's Honor will carry 115.

Limehouse, a son of Grand Slam owned by Dogwood Stable, has not raced since finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby. Before that he was third in the Blue Grass Stakes, and earlier this year put together back-to-back stakes wins in the Tampa Bay Derby and Hutcheson Stakes. Limehouse had a bullet workout at Belmont Park on June 6, going five-eighths in 1:00. His regular rider, Jose Santos, has the mount from post 3.

Pollard's Vision, owned by Edgewood Farm, won the nine-furlong Illinois Derby but was 17th of 18 in the Kentucky Derby. In his start before the Illinois Derby, he finished third in the Louisiana Derby. Eibar Coa will ride Pollard's Vision, a son of Carson City who is blind in his right eye, from post 1.

Trieste's Honor comes into the Ohio Derby with a three-race winning streak, his last victory coming in the California Derby at Bay Meadows on April 17. Russell Baze, who has been aboard for all three of Trieste's Honor's wins, retains the mount. Trieste's Honor, who is owned by Cobra Farm and Castletop Stable, will break from post 8.

Water Cannon finished third, beaten a half-length, as the 4-5 favorite in the Deputed Testamony at Pimlico in his last start. It was a strong effort considering his saddle slipped early in the race. Before the Deputed Testamony, he ran last of 10 in the Preakness, but previously had won five straight, including three stakes in Maryland. He is trained by Linda Albert and will be ridden by the local leading rider, Huber Villa-Gomez, from post 9 at 115.

The balance of the field is composed of Avid Skier, 112, no rider; Mambo Train, 115, Kerwin John; Brass Hat, 115, Willie Martinez; Dashboard Drummer, 115, Ramon Dominguez; and local hopeful Jandemar, 112, Irwin Rosendo.