Trainer's chance pays in Martha Washington

Move to turf is success for filly Western Ransom in Grade III stakes race

Horse Racing

September 26, 2004|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Michael Dickinson trains off his farm in Maryland, but one of his biggest clients lives in Kentucky - Dr. John Chandler.

Chandler owns Mill Ridge Farm in the Bluegrass State and serves as president of Judd- monte Farms, one of the premier breeding operations in the world.

Clients don't come much bigger than that, so when Chandler suggests a move with a horse, Dickinson would do well to listen. That dynamic came into play this spring with Western Ransom, who charged from far back to win the Martha Washington Breeders' Cup yesterday at Pimlico.

Western Ransom's win was a thriller. She circled the field around the far turn, roared down the middle of the track with her jockey, Ryan Fogelsonger, whipping aggressively and finally, at the wire, caught the leader, the Belmont-based Plenty, to win by a head.

"I had her too far back and took her too far wide," said Fogelsonger, who rode two winners on the afternoon for his ninth consecutive multiple-win day of the summer-fall meet. "She did the rest. She's as game as they get."

The Grade III stakes was for 3-year-old fillies racing 1 1/16 miles on the turf. It was the fourth win in nine starts for Western Ransom, and the second stakes win for the offspring of Red Ransom and Chandler's mare Western Wind.

It was almost her third stakes win, as Western Ransom nearly captured a stakes at Keeneland, Chandler's home track, in Lexington, Ky., in April.

After Western Ransom failed to win her first two races - both on dirt - Dickinson tried the Chandler homebred on grass. She won with a late charge at the Fair Grounds and then, in a race scheduled for the turf, she beat three horses in the Fair Grounds' mud.

Chandler told Dickinson after that he wanted to run Western Ransom in the $100,000 Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland. Dickinson said he had three fillies better than Western Ransom and questioned whether the fourth-string horse could win a $100,000 stakes race.

Chandler then said: "Do what you want. I'll go to the paddock and if I see a jockey coming in my colors, then I'll know we're running."

Dickinson listened, entered Western Ransom in the April stakes race, and the game filly at 7-1 odds surged into the lead down the stretch only to lose in the last strides by a head.

"Doc was right," Dickinson said yesterday as he told the story.

Now what? Dickinson said Chandler wants to try the Grade I Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on Oct. 16, also at Keeneland. That may seem tough, but with Chandler waiting in the paddock, you can bet Dickinson and Western Ransom will be there.

NOTES: The 3-year-old Diamond David, a half-brother to 2002 Preakness runner-up Magic Weisner and one of the last foals by Horatius, broke his maiden in spectacular fashion yesterday at Pimlico, winning by 13 1/2 lengths in his sixth start for Nancy Alberts, his breeder, owner and trainer. Diamond David's mother is Jazema, who also produced Magic Weisner. ... Pre-entries for the 12-race Maryland Million program Oct. 9 at Pimlico must be submitted by midnight Wednesday. Post positions will be drawn Oct. 6 in the Hall of Fame Room at Pimlico.

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