02/23/2002 12:00AM

Oaklawn: Four in row for Crafty Shaw

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Crafty Shaw won his fourth consecutive race in commanding fashion when he wired the field in the Grade 3, $75,000 Essex Handicap at Oaklawn Park, finishing 4 3/4 lengths clear of Kiss of Lion. It was another length back in third to Remington Rock.

Crafty Shaw ($4) broke well under regular rider James Lopez, and took command of the 1 1/16-mile race into the first turn. He led the field through an opening six furlongs in 1:11.60, and went on to cover the distance over a track rated fast in 1:43. Kiss of Lion closed with good energy for second, overtaking Remington Rock late.

Crafty Shaw won a Turfway Park allowance, the $50,000 Prairie Bayou Stakes at Turfway Park, and the $75,000 Diplomat Way Handicap at Fair Grounds leading into the Essex. He earned $45,000 for the win Saturday, which improved his career record to seven wins from 12 starts for earnings of $240,810.

Crafty Shaw, a 4-year-old son of Crafty Prospector, races for Lucky Seven Stable. His main objective this season is the Grade 1, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 6.