11/17/2001 1:00AM

Snow Dance best by a neck

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The same owner-trainer team that captured the Kentucky Derby here last spring with Monarchos was back in the Churchill Downs winner's circle Saturday after Snow Dance earned a hard-fought victory in the $172,500 Mrs. Revere Stakes.

Like Monarchos, Snow Dance is a gray 3-year-old.

"I love those grays," said owner John Oxley.

With Craig Perret aboard for trainer John T. Ward Jr., Snow Dance had to work virtually every step of the Mrs. Revere, a Grade 2, 1 1/16-mile turf race restricted to 3-year-old fillies.

Before an estimated ontrack crowd of 12,000, and on yet another day with spectacular autumn weather, Ever With You set the early pace with Snow Dance flanked closely to her outside. Turning for home, Snow Dance wrested a slight edge, but then a pack of chasers began closing in. Snow Dance was able to hold off all of them, finishing a neck ahead of Stylish in a field of 10. Cozy Island, a 47-1 outsider, was just another nose back in third.

Snow Dance returned $4.80 as favorite after finishing in 1:42.86 over a firm course. Stylish, a 10-1 shot, completed a $47.20 exacta.

Snow Dance, a Kentucky-bred by Forest Wildcat, now has won five of six career turf starts, with her only loss coming last month in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland.

"We'll take her to Palm Beach Downs for the winter," said Ward. "She'll get a little break before we gear her back up for a campaign at Gulfstream. They've got a fairly even schedule of races, although now she'll have to be running against 5- and 6-year-olds, the bears in the division."

Another four-figure pick three

The Churchill Downs Simulcast Network Turf Pick Three yielded another big payoff Saturday, returning $2,136.40 for a $1 wager.

The winning horses were Court Notes ($41.60) at Calder, Gretchen's Star ($15) at Churchill, and Excessively Hot at Hollywood Park ($9.40). The winning numbers were 3-3-4.

The CDSN Turf Pick three also had four-figure payoffs both days the previous weekend.