06/13/2001 11:00PM

Lincoln: 'Fantastic' stretches out

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LINCOLN, Neb. - Sweet Fantastic and Run Around Sue, co-highweights at 120 pounds, head a field of 10 set to go one mile in Saturday night's $12,500-added Matchmaker Handicap.

Sweet Fantastic collected her first win of the year here two weeks ago when she was an impressive three-length winner of the Bluegrass Handicap at six furlongs. Breaking from post 10, Sweet Fantastic cleared the field and gained the rail shortly after the start, and then cruised home in 1:11, one of the fastest clockings at the meet for the distance.

Owned by the On the Fly Stable and trained by David Grimes, Sweet Fantastic had to overcome an illness late in the Fonner Park meeting. She once again has found her good turn of early speed and should prove tough to beat while stretching out in distance.

Run Around Sue returns to Nebraska after two starts at Canterbury Park in Minnesota. She was a nonthreatening fourth and fifth up north while competing against high-priced claiming and then allowance company.

Cash Cruise finished second in this stakes a year ago but has yet to find the form that allowed her to earn over $27,000 last year while competing in mainly stakes company. The return to a distance of ground could be what Cash Cruise, a 6-year-old trained byLarry Staroscik, needs to ignite her late run.