03/30/2002 1:00AM

Perfect Fantasy repels challenge


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Perfect Fantasy found another gear when challenged briefly in the stretch by Snowball King to win the $61,000 Rainbow Stakes by five lengths over a sloppy main track at Oaklawn Park on Saturday. It was another length back in third to My Good Trick.

The Rainbow was the first of two 3-year-old stakes for registered Arkansas-breds on the card, which attracted a crowd of 16,682. In the $58,000 Rainbow Miss for fillies, Supreme Discovery remained perfect in three career starts when, after being prominent from the start, she darted clear by 3 3/4 lengths through the stretch to win the six-furlong race under Rodney Trader in 1:12.20. Humble Billie closed for second over Magical Miss.

Supreme Discovery ($3), who is trained by Jayd Schuyler, won her maiden by five lengths Feb. 18, then returned to win an entry-level allowance by a length March 13. She earned $34,800 for her Rainbow Miss win, which improved her bankroll to $67,200 for owner Robert L. Moore. She was bred by McDowell Farm.

In the Rainbow, Perfect Fantasy ($5.20) broke sharply as the 8-5 favorite, and led the field through an opening half-mile in 46.38 seconds. After he turned back Snowball King in the stretch, he went on to cover six furlongs in 1:12.06.

"I was able to give him a breather around the turn, and when Snowball King came to us in the stretch he still had plenty left," said leading rider James Lopez, who rode Perfect Fantasy for trainer Bob Holthus.

Perfect Fantasy earned $36,600 for the win, which improved his record to three wins from five starts for earnings of $63,337. He is the fourth Rainbow winner trained by Holthus, whose Kilkerry Farm bred the colt. Holthus also won the race in 1974 with Count Fearless, in 1995 with Stark Ridge, and in 2001 with Tub Tosser.