04/16/2004 12:00AM

Yeats starts his year in Ballysax


Yeats, the current favorite for the Epsom Derby, will face just three rivals Sunday in the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes, his 2004 debut at Leopardstown.

Yeats is by Sadler's Wells out of a mare who won a 1 3/4-mile maiden race, so this 1 1/4 miles will pose no threat stamina-wise. If there is a challenge, it may come from the in-form Dabiroun.

* The Japanese 2000 Guineas will have 18 starters, among them last year's two top-rated Japanese juveniles, Cosmo Sunbeam and Meisho Bowler.