09/26/2002 12:00AM

Prairie: El Saddler, Triage the ones


Iowa-breds El Saddler and Triage head a field of eight 2-year-old in the $50,000 Prairie Meadows Freshman Stakes. The six-furlong stakes is the closing feature of the 45-day mixed meet at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa.

El Saddler, a son of El Prado, has won three of his four career starts, all at Prairie Meadows. In his most recent start, the Larry Hunt-trained El Saddler stalked the pace to the stretch and drew off to a 5 3/4-length score against statebreds in the Iowa Cradle Stakes on Aug. 31. His time for the six furlongs was a quick 1:10.63.

Before the Iowa Cradle, El Saddler scored a gate-to-wire, 9 3/4-length win against open allowance company on Aug. 17, also at Saturday's six-furlong distance. El Saddler is the top money earner in the field with more than $86,000 for owner Hunt Stables Inc. Regular rider Luis Quinonez has the call.

Triage has led throughout while winning both of his career starts for trainer Ray Tracy. In his most recent start, Triage held on for a nose victory against restricted stakes company in the Iowa Stallion Futurity here Sept. 13. Mike Allen, who has been aboard Triage in both races, has a return call. Triage is co-highweighted with El Saddler at 122 pounds in the Freshman.

Chicago shippers Shandy and Discovering You also could have a say. Shandy scored a 1 1/2-length victory over Illinois-breds in his debut at Arlington Park on July 25, and returned to finish fourth, beaten three lengths, against open company in the Spectacular Bid Stakes Sept. 7 for trainer Steve Hazleton. Kelly Murray will ride Shandy for the first time on Saturday.

Discovering You won by a nose against maiden claiming company in his only career start, at Arlington Aug. 4. Steve Asmussen trains Discovering You for owner Nelson Bunker Hunt. Donnie Meche will be in for the mount.