02/28/2003 12:00AM

Slider makes trip worth it

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Lost in the shuffle of Colorful Tour's game win in the Grade 3, $100,000 Essex at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 22 was the big race Slider ran two races earlier on the card when he rolled to a six-length win in a one-mile allowance and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 108.

Because Slider ran so well, he will face Colorful Tour in his next start, the $100,000 Razorback Handicap on March 16.

It was not the first big Beyer for Slider. Last year, the horse earned a 120 in a seven-furlong race at Keeneland.

"One of the main reasons I came down here was him," said trainer Joe Woodard, who is in his first season at Oaklawn. On Slider's second day on the track here, Woodard said the horse was doing so well "I knew I had made the right move."

Slider, purchased privately by Billy Hays last August, has won four of his nine starts at Oaklawn through the years, and last meet earned a triple-digit Beyer Figure when he won a six-furlong allowance prep for the Hot Spring Stakes.

Given Slider's record, Hays and Woodard had hoped the horse, now 5, would turn into a big-time sprinter when they purchased him, but instead Slider seems to have found his calling around two turns, and now the long-term goal for the horse is the Grade 2, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 5.

Two turns for Princess Jen

Princess Jen, whose powerful closing kick carried her to two sprint stakes wins in her final two starts of 2002, will stretch out around two turns for the featured ninth race Sunday.

The 1 1/16-mile allowance for fillies and mares is worth $36,000, and could produce starters for the Grade 3, $200,000 Oaklawn Breeders' Cup Handicap on March 15.

Also in the race is McKinney, who closed for third last out in the $50,000 Pippin Stakes; Tax Affair, winner of a $60,000 optional claimer in her last start for leading trainer Cole Norman; and Due to Win, who captured the $75,000 Bayakoa last year at Oaklawn.

Princess Jen was a two-turn winner last meet at Oaklawn when she parlayed a six-furlong allowance win and a victory at a mile. For this race, she also stretches out from six furlongs after finishing second in her last start in the $50,000 American Beauty on Feb. 8.

Connections say 'throwout'

Crafty Shaw and See How She Runs, both beaten as favorites in recent stakes, are in fine physical health, and their connections are simply drawing a line through their last starts.

Crafty Shaw was fourth at 3-5 in the Essex after a horrid trip. He was forced to check on the first turn, was boxed in from there, then got clear in the stretch and rallied.

"He never quit," said Pete Vestal, who trains Crafty Shaw for Oaklawn president Charles Cella.

Vestal said Crafty Shaw will start next in the Razorback.

See How She Runs ran a week earlier, and finished an uncharacteristic seventh in the mud in the Pippin.

"As consistent as she's been, it's hard to toss one out, but that's all we can do at this point," said Donnie Von Hemel, who trains See How She Runs.

Last year, See How She Runs won the first five starts of her career, including the Grade 2 Fantasy at Oaklawn and the Grade 1 Selene at Woodbine.

Von Hemel is undecided on See How She Runs's next start. She races for Pin Oak Stable.

o Silent Rapids, a 4-year-old maiden filly by Unbridled, topped the Arkansas Winter Mixed Sale last Tuesday in Little Rock. She was purchased for $14,000 by Fred Edick of Little Rock and was consigned by Kentucky-based Oak Lawn Farm, agent.