05/03/2002 11:00PM

Three Chimneys: Filly beats colts


What comes down, must go up. One race after the disappointment of seeing Snow Ridge disqualified from victory in the Churchill Downs Handicap, trainer D. Wayne Lukas headed right back to the winner's circle. This time, he stayed there.

Lukas's fleet filly Holiday Runner flew out of the gate, turned back a challenge from favored Posse, then held off a belated bid from Zavata to capture the $121,400 Three Chimneys Juvenile, a five-furlong dash for 2-year-olds.

"What a roller-coaster this game is," Lukas said after Holiday Runner won for the second time in as many starts. "I was sick to my stomach after Snow Ridge's race."

Holiday Runner ($11.20) was as fast-acting as Pepto-Bismol. The filly, facing colts for the first time, broke alertly under Jerry Bailey from an outside post position, and was able to cross over to the rail by the time she reached the turn. "She stands in the gate like she's asleep," Bailey said. "But once she sees an ounce of daylight, she's gone."

Posse, the 3-5 favorite off a 13 1/2-length victory in his debut, loomed menacingly on the turn, and was even with Holiday Runner with a furlong remaining. "I thought he was going to win by 10," jockey Donnie Meche said. "He acted like he was going to go on. I can't believe he got beat."

Zavata, who was making his debut for trainer Patrick Biancone, closed sharply late, but ran out of ground and lost by one length while finishing three-quarters of a length in front of Posse. The filly Hollywood Honey was scratched.

Holiday Runner, a daughter of Meadowlake, won her lone previous start by 6 3/4 lengths last month at Keeneland.

"She's an amazing little filly," Lukas said. "She's slightly built. She doesn't look quick. She's longer, scopier than a sprinter. She might be pretty special. She's got a lot of filling out to do. I'm thrilled with what we've gotten so far. It's beyond our expectations."