04/24/2004 11:00PM

Spring Star upsets in Wilshire

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - After throwing a temper tantrum at the gate that delayed the start, Spring Star ran arguably the best race of her career with an easy victory in Sunday's $110,900 Wilshire Handicap at Hollywood Park.

Spring Star ($15.20) finished 2 1-2 lengths in front of 11-1 Quero Quero, who was a nose in front of defending champion Dublino. Dimitrova, the 9-5 favorite and the winner of two major stakes last year, finished fourth in her 2004 debut.

Spring Star, ridden by Alex Solis, finished a mile on turf in 1:33.41, a stakes record.

The victory marked the 5-year-old mare's first start of 2004 and her third career stakes win. She won the Group 2 Prix de Sandringham in France in 2002 and the Grade 2 Palomar Breeders' Cup Handicap at Del Mar last summer.

In the moments before the Wilshire, a third stakes win seemed improbable for Spring Star on Sunday. She delayed the start when she refused to load and only loaded when she was fitted with a pair of blinkers that prevented her from seeing.

Spring Star was prominent from the start. She stalked pacesetter Fudge Fatale through fractions of 23.48 and 46.95 seconds, took the lead entering the stretch and quickly pulled clear.

"She can get mad and get over it quickly," trainer Richard Mandella said.

Owned by the Wertheimer family, Spring Star has won 5 of 12 starts and $320,336.