03/28/2007 12:00AM

Rita Katrina tries to take Rainbow Miss by storm


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Rita Katrina should be favored to complete a sweep of the Arkansas-bred stakes for her division on Friday, when she starts in the $50,000 Rainbow Miss at Oaklawn Park.

The six-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies drew a field of eight. Other top contenders include Everything's Rosie and Ill St Jaycee.

Rita Katrina won the other stakes available to Arkansas-bred fillies last October, when she took the $50,000 Lady Razorback Futurity at Louisiana Downs by 1 1/4 lengths. She was freshened last fall and has raced once this year, finishing third behind Floral Park and Grade 1 winner Sutra in an optional claiming sprint at Oaklawn on March 2.

"We just turned her out to let her catch her breath, and came back and had to run with open company," said Burl McBride, who trains Rita Katrina for Corbet Bryant Jr. "I really didn't want to run her that tough, but that's just how I got in. I thought she ran a big race."

McBride said Bryant purchased Rita Katrina privately last year from former trainer Jim Green. Green named the filly, with "Rita Katrina" referring to the two hurricanes that hit south Louisiana in 2005.

"She's by Storm and a Half, and Rita Katrina was a storm and a half," said McBride.

Larry Sterling Jr. has the mount on Rita Katrina, who will break from the rail Friday.

"One thing about her, you can do anything with her," said McBride. "She's got speed, but she doesn't have to be in front."

Everything's Rosie finished second in the Lady Razorback Futurity in what was her first start. She will get good support Friday off her maiden win here Jan. 25. Everything's Rosie led throughout the 5 1/2-furlong race, winning off by 7 1/4 lengths.

Luis Quinonez has the mount for trainer Donnie Von Hemel.

Everything's Rosie is a daughter of Storm and a Half and she races for her breeder, Millsap Stables, which also bred Rita Katrina.

Ill St Jaycee will cut back to one turn for the Rainbow Miss after finishing fifth in a one-mile allowance for open company March 1. Trainer Mike Tomlinson has given the mount to Calvin Borel.

* The Arkansas Thoroughbred Breeders' and Horsemen's Association will hold its annual meeting and awards banquet at the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs on Saturday night. The Arkansas-bred horse of the year is Downthe-

dustyroad, the third-place finisher in last year's Rainbow Miss who went on to win the Grade 1 La Brea.