Suzanne Elizabeth Martin, 31, expectant estranged wife of Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke, 75, went into labor yesterday morning and checked into Georgetown University Hospital accompanied by her mother Diane Martin, said a friend of the mother-to-be.

Martin, who apparently hit her due date right on the mark, had hoped her husband, who is out in California for the upcoming Super Bowl, would be present for the birth, reported Channel 4 yesterday. It also was reported that Cooke has been sent word on his wife's condition.

Cooke, who sued his wife for divorce Oct. 5 in Fauquier County, only three months after their marriage in late July, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Martin, who already knows the sex of the child, intends to call her new baby girl Jacqueline, reported the friend, who wished to remain anonymous.

The Royal Parents-to-Be

Prince Andrew and his wife Sarah are expecting their first baby in August, Buckingham Palace announced yesterday. The child will be fifth in line to the British throne.

The 28-year-old duchess, who was unavailable for comment yesterday, was busy taking a helicopter flying lesson at the Royal Air Force facility in Oxfordshire. A palace spokesman said she was in "excellent health." Her pregnancy has been an open secret since Jan. 14, when the tabloid Sun headlined "Fergie Baby on the Way," while the duchess was skiing with friends in Switzerland.

Within two hours of the palace announcement, the bookmaking firm William Hill offered 5-6 odds the baby would be a boy, better than the even odds offered on the baby being a girl. Odds for twins were set at 66-1.

According to a palace spokesman, Sarah will continue public engagements until June, including a visit next month to Los Angeles, where she and her 27-year-old husband will serve as patrons of a British festival.

The duchess said last year that she wasn't interested in starting a family for several years, and added that when and if she made the move, she and her husband had decided to have only one child.

Lucille Ball, Bouncing Back

Comedian-actress Lucille Ball was at home in Los Angeles yesterday resting comfortably after minor throat surgery last week, her secretary said. Ball, 76, the redheaded television star of yesteryear, went home Friday after three days in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, said Wanda Clark, her secretary. "She's just fine," Clark said. "She's going about her normal business. There's nothing to even recuperate from."

Matters of the Hart

Gary Hart's wife Lee said that her husband's relationship with model Donna Rice was "very, very stupid" but should not disqualify him from the presidency.

In an interview on CBS' "60 Minutes," Lee Hart called her husband's involvement with Rice "a mistake in judgment," but said she did not think marital fidelity should be an issue in the presidential campaign. "If it has now today become an issue, then all I can say is we certainly would have been without the leadership of some of our greatest presidents in the past."

Hart, who declined to talk too deeply about her personal feelings regarding the incident, which led to her husband's initial withdrawal from the presidential race, said, "Of course I would not have wanted that situation to happen but ... I never felt humiliated."

Travis' Awards Sweep

"I thought we might get one; I sure didn't expect four. That last one was really a shock," said traditional country singer Randy Travis last night after winning four trophies at the 15th annual American Music Awards in Los Angeles. Travis swept his category, winning for favorite country vocalist, album ("Always and Forever"), single and video ("Forever and Ever, Amen"). Anita Baker, Paul Simon and Whitney Houston were double winners at the awards, which are voted by 20,000 people selected by age, sex, geographic location and ethnic origin.

Opera Opportunity

Washington men with a secret stage wish can get a chance to be spear carriers in the Kennedy Center Opera House. The Washington Opera is "desperately seeking 17 large men" between 5-feet-10 and 6-feet-three to appear as supernumeraries in the last act of "Fidelio," which opens six performances Feb. 20. For further details call 822-4745.

Chuck Conconi has the day off.