05/07/2004 11:00PM

Pimlico: Western Ransom relishes turf


BALTIMORE - Western Ransom gave jockey Ryan Fogelsonger his fourth winner of the day when she rallied to capture the $50,000 Hilltop Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Pimlico.

Western Ransom, who was bred and is owned by Dr. John Chandler and is trained by Michael Dickinson, has improved sharply since moving to the turf last winter at Fair Grounds. She beat maidens there, then was second most recently in the Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland on April 14.

Saturday, Western Ransom ($4) sat just off the early leaders, was tipped four paths wide on the final turn, then steadily wore down Art Fan and pacesetting Star of Anziyan to prevail by three-quarters of a length. Art Fan finished 3 3/4 lengths in front of third-place Star of Anziyan.

"I told Ryan, 'The owner doesn't want you on the lead, and I don't want you last,' so he had a fairly large window in between," Dickinson said.

Western Ransom covered 1 1/16 miles on a firm turf course in 1:43.22.