05/04/2005 11:00PM

Thistledown: Wintergreen wide open


March Dancer is highweighted at 121 pounds for the $45,000 Wintergreen Handicap at Thistledown. Nine Ohio-bred 3-year-olds are entered in the 1 1/16-mile stakes.

Trained by William Connelly, March Dancer finished eighth after bobbling at the start against open nonwinners-of-two allowance horses at Keeneland on April 13. On March 26, in his lone start against statebred competition, he won the six-furlong Howard B. Noonan Stakes at Beulah Park by nine lengths. It was his first win.

March Dancer had made two starts prior to the Noonan. He finished second, beaten four lengths, against open maiden competition at Moun-taineer Racetrack on March 6 and, in his only start as a 2-year old, finished third, beaten 1 1/2 lengths, in in a maiden race at Churchill Downs last June. Scott Spieth has the mount.

Pyrite Springs will provide March Dancer's toughest competition. Trained by Miguel Feliciano, he has faced open company in 11 of his 12 career starts, and his two most recent efforts have been around two turns.

Pyrite Springs wintered at Tampa Bay Downs, where he recorded 4 seconds from 7 starts in allowance company. Pyrite Spring will be ridden by Feliciano's nephew, Ricardo Feliciano, at 117 pounds.

Circulator, who is trained by William Cowans, also has good credentials. He has won 3 of 4 lifetime starts, all against statebred company. His only defeat came last November when he finished third in the Ohio Freshman going a mile at Beulah. Hector Rosario Jr. will be in from Beulah to ride at 118.