05/07/2005 12:00AM

Thistledown: 'Dontshoot' fires

Email

Dontshootthemsngr displayed grit and determination battling for the lead into the stretch before drawing off to a 4 1/2-length win over seven Ohio-bred 3-year-old rivals in the second running of the $45,000 Wintergreen Handicap.

Away quickly under jockey Irwin Rosendo, Dontshootthemsngr set the pace for almost a half-mile, was headed by March Dancer, then came back to gain a slight advantage. He was joined by Circulator entering the stretch, put that one away quickly, and drew off under strong handling.

Circulator had settled just off the pace, came three wide to be on even terms for the lead with the winner, but could not keep pace though clearly second-best. Pyrite Springs, the 2-1 favorite, had a troubled start, was up close for five-eighths, then flattened out and wound up third by 5 3/4 lengths.

Owned by Larry R. Lehmann Stables LLC and Blazing Meadows Farm LLC and trained by Tim Hamm, Dontshootthemsngr got the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.92 over the fast racing strip and returned a $22.60 to win.