04/27/2002 11:00PM

Queen Of Wilshire takes Hawthorne Handicap


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Benefitting from two key scratches in the Grace 3 Hawthorne Handicap, Queen Of Wilshire raced gate to wire Sunday in the mile and a sixteenth race for fillies and mares at Hollywood Park. Morning-line favorite Ask Me No Secrets scratched because of a temperature and a "warm foot," while expected pacesetter Stormy Society scratched to look for an easier spot.

The defections allowed Pat Valenzulea to dictate the pace on Queen Of Wilshire, and hold off 7-5 favorite Alexine by a nose. It was four and a half-lengths back to third-place finisher Verruma. Longshots De Goddaughter and L'Emeraude completed the order of finish in the five-horse field.

Queen Of Wilshire, owned by E.A. Ranches and trained by Darrell Vienna, was timed in 1:43.16 and eturned $6.80. The 5-year-old mare, by Major Impact, was winning for the sixth time in 17 starts. She was scratched from the Grade 3 Wilshire Handicap on Friday to run in the Hawthorne. Runner-up Alexine had a tough trip under Gary Stevens. She was pinched at the break, steadied early, and tried to rally through tight quarters through the lane, only to come up short.