03/10/2003 12:00AM

Blinkers big help to My Trusty Cat

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - The addition of blinkers put My Trusty Cat closer to the pace on Saturday when she used stalk-and-pounce tactics en route to a five-length win in the $75,000 Honeybee for 3-year-old fillies at Oaklawn Park.

One start before, My Trusty Cat had come from far back to finish third to Lady Tak in the $100,000 Tiffany Lass at Fair Grounds on Jan. 26.

"She was very professional with the blinkers on," said David Vance, who trains My Trusty Cat for Carl Pollard. "I knew after her race in New Orleans they were going to have to go on.

"She was getting too far behind. She has too much natural speed to be that far off the pace."

Don Pettinger rode My Trusty Cat for the first time Saturday, and the filly gave him his second straight win in the Honeybee. He rode Bedanken in 2002.

My Trusty Cat, whose biggest win came in December in the $250,000 Delta Princess at Delta Downs, improved her record to 3 for 8 with her Honeybee score.

"We wanted to give her a nice confidence builder because her next race will be tougher," said Vance.

That could be either the Grade 1, $500,000 Ashland at Keeneland on April 5, or the Grade 2, $200,000 Fantasy at Oaklawn on April 11.

"It just depends on how they shake out," said Vance. "There's a lot of good 3-year-old fillies out there. It looks like it's going to be a year of nice fillies."

Tough trip for Explosive Beauty

Explosive Beauty, a two-time stakes winner who was third as the favorite in the Honeybee, had trouble early on the backstretch in the race, which was her first start around two turns.

"She was sitting in a good position, and she saw, where they watered the track, a little spot and just darted out and propped from it," said Cole Norman, who trains Explosive Beauty.

Regular rider Jamie Theriot came out of both irons during the incident, which he felt cost him about six lengths.

"She showed heart to come back and run at it," said Norman. "She impressed me."

Norman said the race also told him Explosive Beauty will get two turns. She came out of it in good order, and although no next-race plans have been made, an option is the Fantasy.

"We're going to sit back for a while and see how she's doing," said Norman, who trains Explosive Beauty for K.K. and Vilasini Jayaraman.

The Jayaramans said Explosive Beauty's dam has been bred back to Tiznow.

Speed vs. stalker in feature

Supreme Discovery will have to hold off Dominica through the stretch to remain perfect around one turn at Oaklawn in the featured ninth race on Wednesday.

The six-furlong money allowance for fillies and mares drew six.

Supreme Discovery's only loss in four Oaklawn starts came around two turns when she finished ninth in the $50,000 Althea. Prior to that race, she won her maiden, an allowance, and a statebred stakes at the track. Supreme Discovery will try to control the pace from the rail.

Trainer Steve Hobby has given the mount to Carlos Marquez Jr.

Dominica will be stalking the pace. In her last out, she ran second in an optional claimer while making her first start in five months. "She has a race over the track, and she's doing some kind of super good," said trainer Blackie Huffman, who has given the mount to Joe Johnson.

Preps for Million Dollar Saturday

The $200,000 Oaklawn Breeders' Cup on Saturday and the $100,000 Razorback on Sunday are the final two local preps for the respective Apple Blossom and Oaklawn handicaps, two $500,000 stakes that will share a program on April 5.

Gary Baze, the cousin of Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze and one of the all-time leading riders in the Northwest, will ship in to ride Makors Mark in the Razorback, said trainer Grant Forster.

Crafty Shaw is the 119-pound highweight, while Colorful Tour, winner of the Grade 3 Essex, has been weighted at 118. He will be shooting for his fifth straight win Sunday.

Red n'Gold, winner of the $50,000 Pippin, and Bien Nicole are among the locals pointing for the Oaklawn BC, which could draw Mandy's Gold.

* The purse for the Fifth Season Breeders' Cup, which has been brought back after a one-year absence, has been increased from $50,000 to $100,000. The 1 1/16-mile race for 4-year-olds and upward will be run April 9.

* There is a $24,637 pick six carryover for Wednesday.