09/11/2002 11:00PM

Sand Ridge the class of Prairie Sprint field


ALTOONA, Iowa - Sand Ridge, a 7-year-old with 14 wins and more than $569,000 in earnings, heads a field of seven in the $40,000 Prairie Meadows Sprint here Saturday night.

The seven runners in the six-furlong sprint have combined for 50 career wins and more than $1.7 million in earnings, with Sand Ridge leading the group in both categories.

Sand Ridge is going for his third Prairie Meadows stakes score this year. He captured his second straight Bob Feller here in May and posted a nose victory in the $150,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap on July 4.

Sand Ridge has started once since the Iowa Sprint, finishing fourth in the Arlington Sprint Handicap behind Bonapaw, whom he had beaten in the Iowa Sprint. Don Von Hemel trains the late-running Sand Ridge for owner Thunderhead Farms. Ken Shino, who rode Sand Ridge to both of his local stakes scores this year, has the call in the Sprint.

Iowa-bred Le Numerous could win Saturday if Sand Ridge fails to fire. Le Numerous cuts back to six furlongs after running second against statebreds in the 1 1/16-mile $75,000 Ralph Hayes here Aug. 31.

Le Numerous dueled through solid splits in the Hayes, went clear on the second turn, but could not contain his stablemate Take Me Up, finishing 3 1/2 lengths back, but more than six lengths clear of the third-place finisher. In his last start at Saturday's distance, Le Numerous was a 1 1/4-length winner in an optional claiming race here July 15. Among his victims that day was Airiasaffair, who also starts in the Sprint on Saturday.

This meet's leading rider, Cindy Noll, has a return call aboard Le Numerous for trainer Paul Pearson.