Hero's Hurrah and Amerrico's Bullet run to vastly different schedules, but both arrived early yesterday at Laurel Race Course.

Hero's Hurrah won her third straight race and sixth out of seven by defeating seven older females in the $45,000 Francis Scott Key Handicap. Three races earlier, Amerrico's Bullet showed no signs of strain from a grueling schedule to win a $25,000 claiming race -- his 29th start in less than a year.

Trainer Ben Perkins Jr. has astounded Maryland horseplayers with his victory rate since coming from New Jersey last spring, but even his quality stable hadn't won a stakes race at Laurel or Pimlico. That changed in 1 minute 18 seconds yesterday, the time it took Hero's Hurrah to slog through the mud to a one-length victory over Molly Bolt.

According to Perkins, Hero's Hurrah had such a bad time breathing in past races that "she sounded like a freight train" at times. That changed when she began running with furosemide, the anti-bleeding medication better known as Lasix, and Perkins also realigned her racing schedule.

Because Lasix is a diuretic, it is believed to be less effective during hotter months. So Perkins raced the mare only three times between April and September last year, and now she has reached the height of her career after 18 starts.

Hero's Hurrah had led throughout in winning her previous two starts by eight and 10 1/2 lengths, but Perkins and jockey Rick Wilson looked at the speed-laden Francis Scott Key and changed style.

"I was just content to sit off it," Wilson said, and Hero's Hurrah coursed the backside two lengths behind front-runners Double Artemis and Relevation.

She moved up on them leaving the backstretch and went by soon into the turn, while Molly Bolt followed under Joe Rocco. The two began to pull away from the pack.

To hear the jockeys, Hero's Hurrah was in trouble.

"I thought I had her, because she was getting late," Rocco said.

"I was worried the last seventy yards," Wilson said. "Molly Bolt was right on my {heels}, and my filly was laboring pretty good."

But Hero's Hurrah, favored at 9-10, held the advantage for her ninth victory and pushed Perkins's winning percentage at this meeting to 38.6, behind only Howard Wolfendale. Owned and bred by Richard Golden, Hero's Hurrah has earned $144,550 and an apparent berth in the $200,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap here next month.

Amerrico's Bullet had 11 more races last year than Hero's Hurrah has had in her life, but he seemed no less lively yesterday. Under Mario Pino, he began the season with his first victory since Sept. 27 and eclipsed $260,000 in the process.

"He's so damn sore -- God love him," said trainer Jesse Bailey. "But if I don't run him every two weeks, he'll tear the barn down. He gets so full of himself, you can't control him."

Bailey says he gives the 5-year-old only slow gallops between races, then spends a lot of time defending his motives.

"They say, 'You're going to run this horse to death,' " he said. "But I say, 'If I don't run him, he'll kill himself.' You've got to understand: You're dealing with King Kong at the end of that shank."

Amerrico's Bullet, who has raced three times since Dec. 22, won for the 15th time yesterday.

Laurel Notes: After gaining clearance from the Maryland Racing Commission, Laurel scrapped the late pick three yesterday for a late daily double on the eighth and ninth races and found it well received. A sum of $38,507 was bet into the late double -- much more than the late pick three usually attracts -- and it returned $259.80 after Gold Rain won the ninth at 47-1, paying $96.40 to win. . . .

Fran Campitelli, Maryland's second-leading trainer last year, begins a 15-day suspension Monday for Highland King's Butazolidin overage in July 1989. The action had been delayed on appeal.