02/05/2009 12:00AM

Two sharp sprinters square off


Something is going to have to give when Wind Water and Rapper S S meet in Saturday's $50,000 Budweiser Handicap at Sunland Park.

Each of the crack sprinters sports a 3-for-3 local record and both are coming off an impressive win - Wind Water in the $50,000 KLAQ Stakes locally in mid-December and Rapper S S in allowance company three weeks ago, a race in which he lowered the track record for six furlongs.

Wind Water has been assigned high weight of 123 pounds for the five-furlong Budweiser due at least in part to his stellar reputation in the region. Now 7, Wind Walker has amassed more than $730,000 in earnings from 18 career victories. Saturday will mark the 50th start for Wind Water, a California-bred son of Bold Badgett trained by Chris Hartman. Regular rider Ken Tohill will once again be aboard when Wind Water breaks from post 6 in the seven-horse field.

Rapper S S's record-setting performance on Jan. 18 was his first victory since winning the Riley Allison Futurity locally in late 2007. He covered the six furlongs in a rapid 1:08.01, breaking the track record of 1:08.24 set by Yet Anothernatalie on Dec. 11, 2004.

A son of Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos, Rapper S S had an abbreviated campaign in 2008, racing only three times. He certainly appears to have come into himself as a 4-year-old, and his task on Saturday could be made easier by his post 1 draw. Alejandro Medellin rides at 120 pounds for trainer Henry Dominguez.

With what appears to be an overabundance of early speed in the Budweiser, pace handicappers will give a long look to the Steve Asmussen-trained Devereux. The 4-year-old Devereux is coming off two races at Fair Grounds following a couple of months off. He made a nice move from off the pace to take the lead of the Thanksgiving Handicap in late November only to settle for second when unable to contain an even later rally from eventual winner Sok Sok.

In his most recent start, in the Gaudin Memorial last month, Devereux failed to fire after chasing a moderate pace - something he will not have to worry about on Saturday. Asmussen has given the call to Luis Contreras.