04/24/2002 11:00PM

Sweetest Thing rallies to win

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Needing a change of luck, trainer Roger Attfield changed the running style of Sweetest Thing and was rewarded with a powerful victory in Thursday's $110,700, Grade 3 at Keeneland.

Sitting in eighth position, about eight lengths back, for the opening mile of the 12-furlong Bewitch, Sweetest Thing, with Mark Guidry riding, kicked in around the turn and into the stretch and drew off to a 3 1/2-length victory over Lapuma. It was three lengths back to Lady Upstage.

Sweetest Thing had finished second in three of her last four starts - all graded stakes - twice being defeated by a neck.

"She ran winning races and didn't get it done," said Attfield, who owns the filly along with Michael Canino and William Werner. "They were all good races. Actually, in all three races she had the race won in her own mind and a horse came from behind and got her. So it was the preferred style today to run at them as opposed to somebody coming at her."

Sweetest Thing, a 4-year-old Canadian-bred filly by Candy Stripes, covered the 1 1/2 miles in 2:31.97 over a firm turf course and returned $6 as the 2-1 favorite.

Also Thursday at Keeneland, Holiday Thunder ($4.80) made a winning return to the races, overcoming trouble down the backside and rallying from ninth place to win an entry-level allowance race by 1 1/4 lengths. Under Jorge Chavez, Holiday Thunder ran seven furlongs and 184 feet in 1:29.41.

Chavez, however, jumped off Holiday Thunder while galloping back to the winner's circle, and Holiday Thunder was vanned off with an apparent problem in his left foreleg.

Earlier, Hero's Tribute, a graded-stakes winning stablemate of Holiday Thunder, finished fourth in his return to the races. He was steadied repeatedly down the backside by Chavez and had little left for the stretch. Slider ($6.40) won the race, covering seven furlongs in 1:22.12.