02/25/2002 1:00AM

Allowance to determine what's next for Beau's Town

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - The future of Beau's Town, who has won his last three races by a combined 10 1/4 lengths, is riding on the ninth race Wednesday at Oaklawn Park. His performance in the conditioned allowance will determine if he gets a chance at stakes company next month, in either the $150,000 Pelleteri Breeders' Cup at Fair Grounds on March 17, or the $50,000 Hot Springs here March 29.

"This race is going to tell us the next step," said Dave Hulkewicz, who owns Beau's Town. "He has to answer the bell."

Beau's Town faces six others in the six-furlong race, including U.S. Jets, who is working sharply for leading trainer Bob Holthus; Abbi's Choice, a front-running stakes winner for trainer Donnie Von Hemel; and Ski Bum, third to multiple stakes winner Sand Ridge last out in his first start since September.

Beau's Town has not been tested in his last three starts, his most recent a 3 3/4-length win over conditioned allowance foes at Oaklawn on Feb. 1.

"I've never had a horse, this early in their career, this good," said Hulkewicz. "He's just knocking off his conditions, and he's been doing it easy."

Hulkewicz believes Beau's Town has the potential to be one of the best horses he has raced, and he has raced some good ones. Among the best horses he has owned alone or in partnership are Juliannus, a Grade 2 winner of $446,679; Formal Tango, a Grade 3 winner of $404,702; Beverly Greedy, a stakes winner of $301,680; and One Eyed Joker, a five-time stakes winner of $303,940.

Still, as excited as Hulkewicz is about Beau's Town, he has respect for the horses the colt faces Wednesday.

"This horse gets a test Wednesday, no doubt about it," said Hulkewicz.

Beau's Town is trained by Cole Norman, and is to be ridden by Anthony Lovato.

Crafty Shaw to Razorback

Trainer Pete Vestal said Crafty Shaw came out of his commanding win in the Grade 3, $75,000 Essex Handicap last Saturday in good order, and will be pointed to the Grade 3, $100,000 Razorback Handicap on March 16.

The colt's main objective this spring is the Grade 1, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 6.

Crafty Shaw set brisk fractions en route to a 4 3/4-length win in the Essex.

"He was impressive," said Vestal, who was pleased most by the "strength with which he finished the race."

Crafty Shaw, a powerful-looking son of Crafty Prospector, has won his last four starts, three of them stakes, including the $75,000 Diplomat Way at Fair Grounds on Jan. 20.

Two more for Hot Springs

The March 29 Hot Springs Stakes picked up two starters over the weekend. Boots on Sunday ($9.20), who upset Morluc in the $50,000 Sam Houston Turf Sprint last Saturday night, is pointing to the six-furlong race, as is Slider ($16), who upset Kings Command in the feature Sunday at Oaklawn.

Boots on Sunday closed with a rush to catch Morluc, and will tranfer back to the main track for the Hot Springs. The last time he ran on dirt he finished second to Kings Command after setting the pace in the $50,000 King Cotton on Feb. 2.

"I really like the idea of turf to dirt," said Danny Pish, who trains Boots on Sunday.

Slider, a 4-year-old, slipped away on a clear lead to win his race by 2 1/2 lengths. He covered six furlongs in a meet-best time of 1:09.46.

"I don't think he has to be on the lead," said trainer James Garroutte. "That was pretty much a blessing to have things his own way, but I think he'll come from off the pace. This winter he grew a lot, got stronger, and matured in a lot of ways."

Craddock on a roll

Trainer Kari Craddock won with all three of her starters over the weekend to move into sixth place in the trainer standings. She will try to keep her streak going on Wednesday when she sends out Love That Amber in the eighth race.

Craddock's big weekend improved her record to 7 wins from 17 starts, and her win rate to 41 percent, which leads the trainers ranked in the top 10 here. Her winner Saturday was Mountain Queen ($7.60). On Sunday, she won with Red Veneer ($31.20) and Rock Me Amadeus ($11).