04/30/2003 11:00PM

Sand Ridge going for stakes three-peat

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These days $50,000 stakes races don't often draw strong fields, but Saturday's 5 1/2-furlong Prairie Express at Prairie Meadows did.

Sand Ridge, the race's two-time defending champion, will take on the entry of Honor Me, Beverly Greedy, and Pie's Little Brother - all owned by Highway 1 Racing Stable and trained by Stanley Roberts - in the Express, formerly named the Bob Feller. Other contenders in the eight-horse field include Outathechute and Medium Rare.

Sand Ridge, an 8-year-old son of Known Fact, captured three stakes here last year, including the $250,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap, for trainer Don Von Hemel. Sand Ridge has maintained his good form in 2003, finishing third in stakes in both of his last two starts, the latest coming on April 10 in the six-furlong, Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn. Overall, Sand Ridge sports a record of 15-5-12 from 46 career starts

Regular rider Ken Shino has the call aboard the late-running Sand Ridge on Saturday. Sand Ridge gets in light at 114 pounds under the allowance conditions of the Express.

Honor Me, who finished second, beaten a half-length in the Count Fleet last out, leads the Roberts-trained entry, which will likely start favored. Honor Me, a 5-year-old gelding, enters in top form having won the Hot Springs at Oaklawn before the Count Fleet. Honor Me has 12 career victories from 28 starts and figures to sit a stalking trip Saturday.

Fifteen-time winner Beverly Greedy lends support to those who back the entry. Roberts claimed Beverly Greedy from a victory for $25,000 on April 5 at Oaklawn and quickly got back most of that investment when Beverly Greedy returned to win a $40,000 optional claimer here at six furlongs on April 22. Beverly Greedy finished third in this race last year.

Outathechute will be trying stakes company for the first time, but he looms a major threat based on his latest race, a five-length victory at Keeneland in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance race on April 4. He has an eight-race streak in which he has been first or second dating back to July 2001. Jose Martinez Jr., who was aboard in the Keeneland victory, will be in for the mount.

Multiple stakes winner Medium Ridge, who will be making his 2003 debut after winning 5 of 8 starts last year, adds depth to the field.