Heavenly Ransom Sets Mark in Wilshire Win

(from Hollywood Park report)
Second-choice Heavenly Ransom rallied under jockey Jon Court en route to her fourth win in five starts, establishing a stakes record on the newly installed Hollywood Park turf course in Wednesday's $100,000 Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT). The program opened the 67th spring/summer meet in Inglewood.

Court, who rode 2005 Wilshire winner Pickle, guided Heavenly Ransom into contention while four-wide on the turn for home. She gained command early in the stretch and held off Ticker Tape by three-quarters of a length, covering one mile on the Lakeside Turf Course in 1:33.14 in the event for fillies and mares.

Heavenly Ransom, trained by T. R. (Ray) Bell II for Mr. and Mrs. Vicken Meguerditchian, paid $7.40, $3.20 and $2.80. Ticker Tape, the 2004 American Oaks champion, returned $3.60 and $2.80. The show payoff on Flip Flop, who finished one length behind the runner-up, was $3.60. Favorite Beautyandthebeast, off at odds of 8-5, was fourth in the field of six fillies and mares.

The winner carried 116 pounds, three less than the top-weighted Ticker Tape.

"She's a nice filly," Bell said of the winner. "Every time she runs, I open the Form and say, 'Oh God, this is a tough race.' but every time she comes through."

Heavenly Ransom, a 4-year-old daughter of Red Ransom bred in Pennsylvania by Brushwood Stable, won for the third straight time, boosting her earnings to $181,720 with the $60,000 winner's check.

"I was a little concerned taking the overland route, but she lived up to it today," Court said. While Court was making his move on the far turn, Flores was awaiting racing room off heels in the stretch aboard Ticker Tape.

"I think I just had bad luck," Flores said. "The other horse made an early move, she opened up two lengths on me, and it's hard to catch her."

Victor Espinoza, who rode three winners including Melanyhasthepapers on the opening-day program, had to settle for fourth in the Wilshire aboard Beautyandthebeast.

"She got a little nervous in the gate," he said. "And the first turn, she got bumped a little and she took off. She used herself too much in the beginning."

Chilean-bred Tanta Suerte and Megec Blis, who set the pace (:23 1/5, :46 2/5, 1:09 4/5) when she rushed to the front after stumbling to her nose at the start, rounded out the order.

(Chart, Equibase)