12/16/2011 2:17PM

Hollywood Park: Mensa Heat looks to rebound after illness in On Trust Handicap

Shigeki Kikkawa
Mensa Heat (left) has recovered from stomach ulcers and will try to rebound on the track in Sunday's On Trust Handicap at Hollywood Park.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Mensa Heat’s last-place finish in the California Cup Sprint at Santa Anita on Oct. 29 left bettors puzzled and trainer Ted H. West searching for answers.

Within a week, an illness that contributed to the defeat was detected. Mensa Heat was suffering from stomach ulcers, according to Ted West, father of trainer Ted H. West. Six weeks of treatment followed, and Mensa Heat quickly rebounded, the senior West said.

How much the 5-year-old gelding has recovered will be known after Sunday’s $80,000 On Trust Handicap at Hollywood Park. Owned by Peter Redekop, Mensa Heat is the 122-pound topweight in the On Trust, which is run over 7 1/2 furlongs for statebreds. Bettors who are in a forgiving mood will reflect more on Mensa Heat’s game third in the Grade 1 Ancient Title Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 8 than his recent loss.

The Ancient Title turned out to be a productive race. The winner, Amazombie, won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5.

Mensa Heat was treated for ulcers in early November, and Ted West said the improvement was immediate following the Cal Cup Sprint.

“I’ve never seen him better than he has been in the last few weeks,” he said. “The time before, he had a little bout with colic about a week before the race. We started treating him. That’s usually caused by ulcers. I don’t think he was completely over the ulcers.

“Since then, we did a stomach scope and he had severe ulcers. We did treatment for five or six weeks. For the last month, he’s never been better. We’re doing everything we can for him. All the symptoms of ulcers are gone.”

Mensa Heat was claimed for $25,000 in April and has since won four of seven starts, including the Pirate’s Bounty Stakes at Del Mar in September. In the Ancient Title, Mensa Heat was beaten three-quarters of a length by Amazombie after closing on the rail.

“I thought he was a little unlucky to get beat in the Ancient Title,” Ted West said. “I don’t think he wants to be on the inside of horses.”

Mensa Heat will be ridden by Joe Talamo and breaks from post 6 in a field of seven. The only other 2011 stakes winner in the field is Chiloquin, who won the Real Good Deal Stakes over seven furlongs at Del Mar in August and was fifth in the California Cup Sprint.

Spud Spivens was third in the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap over 1 1/16 miles in June and won an optional claimer over that distance here Nov. 19. He was a fast-closing fourth in an optional claimer over seven furlongs at Santa Anita in October.

Red Defense, a 4-year-old gelding, makes his stakes debut having won five of six starts in the last 15 months.

The On Trust will be Mensa Heat’s first start beyond 6 1/2 furlongs since January 2010. The distance of 7 1/2 furlongs should fit the gelding, Ted West said.

“I have wanted to stretch him out,” he said. “I don’t think six furlongs is his best game. I think this will be good for him.”

On Trust Handicap, Post Time: 4:38 PT Sunday

Purse: $80,000; 7 1/2 furlongs





ML Odds


Spud Spivens

H. Moreno

G. Gomez



Red Defense

C. Gaines

J. Rosario



Scofield Barracks

J. Sadler

H. Berrios



Mark The Bench

M. Mitchell

M. Garcia



Legal Separation

E. Moger, Jr.

V. Espinoza



Mensa Heat

T. West

J. Talamo




S. Hansen

M. Pedroza