11/02/2002 1:00AM

Belle of Perintown gobbles up ground late


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - For four races, Belle of Perintown had trainer Eddie Kenneally scratching his head. The filly was unable to win a maiden race during that time, but Saturday, fresh off her first career win, she posted her second straight victory when she surged past Star of Atticus and favored Souris in the final yards of the $111,100 Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs.

"She was unfortunate, but now she's rolling," a jubilant Kenneally said after Belle of Perintown, ridden by Mark Guidry, gave him his first Churchill stakes win.

Belle of Perintown, owned by Ken Mahler and Jamie Schloss, returned $18 after finishing one mile in 1:36.52 over a fast track. The Pocahontas triumph followed an Oct. 5 maiden win at Keeneland.

Before an ontrack crowd of 9,062, and amid chilly but pleasant weather, Youcan'ttakeme led through the opening half-mile of the Pocahontas but was overtaken with relative ease on the far turn by Star of Atticus.

From there, Star of Atticus turned back Souris in deep stretch and appeared on her way to victory, but then Guidry swung Belle of Perintown off the rail, and she sped past to win by three-quarters of a length. Star of Atticus finished a neck ahead of Souris, the even-money favorite.

Belle of Perintown, by Dehere out of the Mr. Prospector mare Hot Match, was bred in Kentucky by B. Wayne Hughes.

The Pocahontas is the local prep for the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race that will be run closing day, Nov. 30.