04/24/2006 11:00PM

Wilshire Handicap Preview


Wilshire Handicap (Grade 3)
1 Mile (Turf)
Fillies and Mares
Purse $100,000.

It's nice to see turf racing return to Hollywood Park, and the opening day feature looks like a solid betting event.

Tanta Suerte is the X-factor shipping in from Chile. A Group 1 winner in her native land, Tanta Suerte was named Chile's champion juvenile filly for the 2004-2005 racing season. An August foal, she will be giving up some maturity to her seasoned rivals, but has been working nicely for her United States debut, and may offer some value off her foreign form. She is a perfect three-for-three at a mile, and has successfully handled firm turf in the past.

Beautyandthebeast didn't gallop out very well after faltering in the stretch of the Grade 2 Santa Ana, but she was aggressively ridden to make the lead during the backstretch run, and that may have sapped her stretch stamina. She should appreciate turning back to a mile, and may revert to the rating tactics that propelled her to an allowance win at this distance last year. She finished just ahead of pace foe Sharp Lisa in the Santa Ana, and that one returned to wire the Grade 2 Santa Barbara with a 96 Beyer on Saturday.

Heavenly Ransom has won four of five lifetime starts, and has shown excellent tactical speed in her career. Two starts back, she rallied from off the pace to win an 'n2x' allowance going 1 1/8 miles at Santa Anita, and last time out, she went gate-to-wire in beating 'n3x' foes. She dueled with Berbatim for the first six furlongs of her last race, and put that foe away turning for home. What flatters the impressive effort even more was that Berbatim returned to win an 'n3x' allowance on April 22 at Santa Anita. Heavenly Ransom will get a class test in the Wilshire, but she figures to be on or close to the lead, and should be prominent when the field turns for home. A lightly raced 4-year-old, Heavenly Ransom may have some upside potential, and looms a contender for win honors.

Flip Flop just missed in the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon last year, but her form has gone south since then. She's only raced four times since 2005, but has the back class to threaten these on her best day.

Millionaire Ticker Tape ran down listed stakes horses in the Tuzla at this distance three back, but she failed to impress on her gallop-out, and has been one-paced in the stretch run of her subsequent outings. She is very consistent from a Beyer standpoint, and doesn't have to be too far off the pace.

Dream Lady beat weaker last time, but has the speed to be a forward factor, and the pace doesn't project to be very fast. She has Bobby Frankel and Pat Valenzuela in her corner, and was Grade 3-placed at Saratoga last year.

1. Tanta Suerte
2. Beautyandthebeast
3. Heavenly Ransom