05/08/2004 12:00AM

Thistledown: Heavy favorite prevails

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Hank's Rib ($3.20) chased the pacesetting Wirebender all the way, responded to energetic left-handed whipping from rider Perry Ouzts, and won by a half-length in the $40,000 Mike Rowland Memorial Handicap at Thistledown.

It was the first stakes win for the 5-year-old Hank's Rib, who has won 5 of 7 career starts. He ran the six furlongs in 1:11.64.