04/10/2003 12:00AM

Beau's Town stays on course


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Beau's Town, whose connections would like to see him develop into a candidate for the Breeders' Cup Sprint, won his third stakes race in as many starts this year when he held off a stiff bid from Honor Me to win the Grade 3, $150,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap by a half-length at Oaklawn Park Thursday.

It was four lengths back in third to Sand Ridge.

The Count Fleet was part of the Racing Festival of the South, which has featured at least one stakes race a day at Oaklawn for the past four days. The Festival continues through Saturday, when the meet will come to a close with the Grade 2, $500,000 Arkansas Derby.

Beau's Town ($2.80) broke sharply and settled just behind pacesetter Cojet, who ran the opening quarter-mile in 22.20 seconds. Beau's Town overtook Cojet nearing the quarter-pole and held off Honor Me.

Beau's Town was the 122-pound highweight in the race, and spotted Honor Me six pounds. He covered the six-furlongs over a fast track in 1:09.01, and with the victory remained perfect in five starts at Oaklawn.

Jamie Theriot rode the winner for trainer Cole norman.

Beau's Town's win in the six-horse field resulted in a minus show pool of $104,348. The minus show pool is the third during the Racing Festival of the South, following those last weekend in races won by Azeri ($147,094) and Medaglia d'Oro ($398,612).

Beau's Town's other stakes wins this year came in the $50,000 King Cotton at Oaklawn Feb. 1, and the $150,000 Pelleteri Breeders' Cup at Fair Grounds March 16.

He earned $90,000 for his win in the Count Fleet, which improved his earnings to $357,600. Overall, the gelding has won 9 of 12 starts.

For his next start, Beau's Town could ship to Belmont Park for the Grade 2, $250,000 True North June 7. Later in the season, his connections have also penciled in the Grade 3, $500,000 Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder Race Course July 12.