04/12/2005 11:00PM

Rating time for High Limit


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Whether he wanted to or not, trainer Bobby Frankel probably is going to find out something new about his latest stable star, High Limit.

"We're going to learn whether he can sit off other horses or not," Frankel said minutes after High Limit was assigned post 5 for the .

High Limit, unbeaten and untested in three starts, was among a field of seven 3-year-olds entered Wednesday in the Grade 1 Blue Grass at Keeneland. In all three of his races, including the March 12 Louisiana Derby, High Limit sped straight to the lead and was never challenged, leaving Frankel and many others to wonder how the colt will cope when looked in the eye.

The answer should come Saturday afternoon, when the $750,000 Blue Grass will be run for the 81st time. High Limit drew directly outside of Spanish Chestnut (post 3) and Consolidator (post 4), both of whom bring tons of speed to the Blue Grass table.

"If they don't go, we'll go," said Frankel. "Being outside, we've got options. We can see what's going on."

High Limit, a Maria's Mon colt, will be ridden again by Ramon Dominguez, who has been aboard him in all three previous starts. High Limit, who was purchased privately by Gary and Mary West and turned over to Frankel after easily winning his first two starts at Delaware Park for trainer Tony Dutrow, is the likely second wagering choice in the 1 1/8-mile Blue Grass.

The favorite's role figures to go to Sun King, who, until Bellamy Road posted his sensational victory last weekend in the Wood Memorial, had been widely regarded as the leading Kentucky Derby prospect for trainer Nick Zito.

"We're still feeling that way, that he's right up there," said Zito. "Personally, I love this horse. We've got great expectations, and as they say, that can lead to great disappointment, but we're very confident going into Saturday."

Sun King, owned by Tracy Farmer, drew post 6 and will be ridden by Edgar Prado, who has won two of the last three runnings of the Blue Grass with Harlan's Holiday (2002) and Peace Rules (2003).

Handicapping the Blue Grass, it appears to break down into two tiers: Sun King, High Limit, Consolidator, and Bandini (post 7) as the favorites, with Mr Sword (post 1), Closing Argument (post 2), and Spanish Chestnut at longer prices.

Consolidator, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, is entered off a 6 1/2-length victory in the March 19 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita. Bandini, trained by Todd Pletcher, blossomed at Gulfstream over the winter with two wins and a runner-up finish in his last start, the March 5 Fountain of Youth Stakes.

The Blue Grass is carded as the ninth of 10 Saturday races and has a post time of 5:45 p.m. Eastern. It will be televised live during a two-hour ESPN broadcast that begins at 4:30 and is part of the new Premier Pick 4 wager, which carries a $1 minimum. The other races are the Commonwealth Breeders' Cup from Keeneland and the Arkansas Derby and Instant Racing BC from Oaklawn Park.

Rain fell steadily here Wednesday but was supposed to diminish by Thursday. The Saturday forecast calls for sunny skies and a high temperature in the high 60's.