09/04/2004 12:00AM

Pollard's Vision continues derby tour

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Pollard's Vision may be blind in one eye, but he has seen more of this country than most horses in training.

The Pollard's Vision tour makes its next stop Monday at Philadelphia Park where he could very well be the horse to beat in the Grade 3, $750,000 . A field of 12 was entered for the 1 1/8-mile race, including the Grade 1 winner Tapit, who is stuck in the outside post in his first start in four months.

This will be the sixth derby in which Pollard's Vision has competed. He won the Grade 2 Illinois Derby and was the runner-up in derbies run in Ohio and West Virginia. He finished third in the Louisiana Derby and finished 17th of 18 in the Kentucky Derby. Pollard's Vision won the Grade 3 Leonard Richards - which, as a stakes for 3-year-olds at Delaware Park, could be considered the Delaware Derby.

Pollard's Vision, who began the year racing twice at Gulfstream Park, has churned out more than $730,000 this year for David Moore's Edgewood Farm while being magnificently managed by trainer Todd Pletcher.

Pollard's Vision is blind in his right eye and therefore prefers to race outside of horses. In his last start, the West Virginia Derby, Pollard's Vision was even wider than usual due in part to strategy employed by Eibar Coa.

"Eibar felt pretty strongly that the inside four paths of the track were not where you wanted to be,'' Pletcher said. "So we had even more reason than we'd normally have to keep the horse towards the outside. As it turned out, the winner [Sir Shackleton] came through on the inside of the horse that finished third. We were probably just second best on the day.''

John Velazquez, who will ride at Saratoga earlier in the day, will fly to Philadelphia in time to ride Pollard's Vision from post 8.

Tapit, the probable favorite, has not run since finishing ninth in the Kentucky Derby. Tapit entrapped his epiglottis in a workout prior to the Haskell, and has since undergone surgery to correct the problem.

"It was a very simple operation,'' Dickinson said. "He seems all right. We're on our way back.''

Regarding the outside post, Dickinson said. "It's a big problem. It's not where we want to be at all.''

Separato and My Snookie's Boy, two former claimers, have big shots. Tim Ritchey claimed Separato for $40,000 on June 22, and Separato has won his last three starts, including a last-to-first romp in the Presidents Cup, the prep for the Pennsylvania Derby.

"I hope there's a good pace in the race and it sets up for a closer,'' Ritchey said. "If we can run 1-2-3-4 I'd be very happy.''

Trainer Allen Iwinski claimed My Snookie's Boy for $50,000 at Gulfstream. He has 2 wins and 2 seconds from 5 starts since. My Snookie's Boy finished second to Lion Heart in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on Aug. 8.

Trainer Nick Zito sends out Haskell third- and fourth-place finishers Pies Prospect and Royal Assault. Zito is equipping Royal Assault with blinkers because he believes the colt has run in spots as of late.

Trainer Bobby Frankel adds blinkers to Master David's equipment and has been raving about how the colt has trained at Saratoga. He expects Master David to be in the race early under Coa.

Swingforthefences bled when he finished fifth in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational. Prior to that, he won the Iowa Derby and was second to a razor-sharp Purge in the Peter Pan.