06/15/2002 12:00AM

Hi Tech Honeycomb takes Panthers Stakes


ALTOONA, Iowa - In a race that featured several troubled trips, Hi Tech Honeycomb and jockey Sidney Lejeune Jr. rallied to a widening 3 1/4-length victory in Friday night's $60,000 Panthers Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Prairie Meadows.

Hi Tech Honeycomb ($9.20) settled in midpack early before moving up from between horses to challenge for command briefly on the backstretch.

She remained within range four-wide on the second turn before taking the lead in midstretch. Hi Tech Honeycomb covered the mile in 1:37.46.

The favorite, For Rubies, who finished second, and One Fine Shweetie, who was third, both had troubled trips.

For Rubies was forced to steady leaving the gate and dropped back to trail early. She moved up strongly to challenge while five-wide on the backstretch and briefly went clear in upper stretch but proved no match for Hi Tech Honeycomb late.

Iowa-bred One Fine Shweetie was shuffled back to trail on the backstretch. Jockey Cindy Noll angled her five-wide on the second turn and the pair put in a mild rally to finish third, two lengths behind For Rubies.

Hi Tech Honeycomb is trained by Ken McPeek owned by Select Stables.