02/07/2004 1:00AM

Eternal Cup flying at the finish


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Eternal Cup rallied strongly through the stretch for a 1 3/4-length win over Holiday Runner in the $50,000 American Beauty Stakes for fillies and mares at Oaklawn Park on Saturday. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to Emily Ring in third.

Eternal Cup ($14.40) settled several lengths off the pace while Novice led the field through an opening quarter in 21.58 seconds. Surf N Sand overtook Novice midway on the turn, but tired to fourth after being passed by Eternal Cup, who took over in the stretch and powered home, covering six furlongs in 1:10.99.

"She gave me a great punch down the lane," said Terry Thompson, who rode the winner for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Eternal Cup earned $30,000 for the win, her fourth from 11 career starts.