03/27/2002 12:00AM

Beau's Town takes on top sprinters


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Beau's Town, who has won his last four races by a combined 13 lengths, will get tested for class Friday in the $50,000 Hot Springs Stakes, a six-furlong race that has drawn some of the best sprinters at Oaklawn Park, as well as tough Texas shipper Boots on Sunday.

The field is completed by Slider, who earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 112 for a wire-to-wire allowance win Feb. 24; Kings Command, winner of the $50,000 King Cotton Stakes; Chindi, a multiple stakes winner of $734,535; and Sand Ridge, a two-time stakes winner last year who reunites with jockey Ken Shino.

Beau's Town could give leading trainer Cole Norman his first Oaklawn Park stakes win. Norman set a goal of winning a local stakes when the season started in January, and has since sent out four horses in three stakes this meet, placing with three of them. Beau's Town, a chestnut Arkansas-bred, will make his stakes debut in the Hot Springs.

"We're putting him to the test," said Norman. "He's going to face the best on the grounds. But our horse is doing good, and I think he'll be ready for the test. He seems to be improving by the way he looks, the way he's eating and the way he's working. He's coming into his own."

So is Slider. "He couldn't be doing any better," said his trainer, James Garroutte. "He's just continued to improve, and over the winter, he's just grown into himself."

Slider turned in a top effort in his last race, winning a six-furlong allowance by 2 1/2-lengths over Kings Command in a meet-best time of 1:09.40.

Slider and Beau's Town, as well as Sand Ridge and Boots on Sunday, who won the $50,000 Sam Houston Turf Sprint Cup in his last start, all have speed, while Kings Command and Chindi are closers who will be dependent on a fast pace.

"The race has got to set up for him," trainer Bob Holthus said of Kings Command. "Last time Slider got out on an easy lead and we just couldn't overcome it. We were three-wide around the turn, and Slider cut the corner and he was gone and we couldn't run him down."

Chindi ran down all of his rivals in impressive fashion in his last start, when he closed from eight lengths off the pace to win an allowance by a half-length March 6.

"His best race is when he's about eight or nine lengths off an honest pace," said trainer Steve Hobby.

for Oaklawn Park entries.

Subscribers: to purchase past performances for Oaklawn Park.

Non-subscribers: to purchase past performances for Oaklawn Park.