07/05/2001 12:00AM

Takarian wins American for 2nd time


ALTOONA, Iowa - Bonapaw, favored at 2-5, controlled the pace of the six-furlong Iowa Sprint Handicap and drew off to score by 4 1/4 lengths over Sand Ridge Wednesday at Prairie Meadows.

Bonapaw, who carried highweight of 119 pounds, including jockey Gerard Melancon, spotted his five rivals from four to six pounds in the $150,000 Sprint Handicap, but it wasn't nearly enough to make a difference. Melancon kept Bonapaw, a 5-year-old gelded son of Sabona, in hand while maintaining a slim lead down the backstretch before the pair went clear approaching the turn.

Melancon went to an aggressive hand ride when Sand Ridge came to challenge in midstretch, and Bonapaw widened his lead to the wire, covering the distance in a rapid 1:08.64. Sand Ridge finished 2 1/2 lengths clear of 1998 Sprint Handicap winner Chindi, who rallied from last at the top of the stretch to gain third.

The victory was Bonapaw's 11th in 23 career starts for trainer Howard Alonzo and pushed his career earnings to over $500,000 for owners James and Dennis Richard.