Thursday, July 31, 2008
VON HEMEL TAKES ANOTHER STAB AT HONORABLE MISS
Last summer, trainer Kelly Von Hemel ran his first horse at Saratoga Race Course.
Naturally, the Spa’s history and standing as racing’s premier meet was not lost on Von Hemel, who is based at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa, located about five miles from Des Moines. When he ran fourth in the Honorable Miss with Miss Macy Sue, Von Hemel knew he would love to come back for another chance at the Spa.
Von Hemel arrived here Tuesday night, and considers himself very fortunate to have a horse like Miss Macy Sue that warrants his participation at the Spa. A five-year-old daughter of Trippi, she has brought Von Hemel all over the country to places like Churchill Downs, Oaklawn Park and even Monmouth Park, where, last October, she ran third in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, beaten two lengths by Maryfield.
“It is not hard to prepare a mare like Missy Macy Sue to race,” said Von Hemel, a Kansas native, whose father, Don is the all-time leading trainer at Ak-Sar-Ben (Nebraska spelled backwards), and whose brother, Donnie, is a top trainer in the Midwest. “The biggest thing is location, getting her from Prairie Meadows to these other racetracks. I’ve been based in Iowa because most of my owners are from Des Moines. But as my stock keeps getting better, I believe I’ll be branching out within a few years.
“Miss Macy Sue is the horse that has brought me to all these different places and let me see what big-time racing is all about.”
Miss Macy Sue comes into the Honorable Miss off a six-length victory in the Saylorville on her home track on June 27. After the Breeders’ Cup last October, she was given a rest and did not return until April 9. In four starts this year, she has two wins and a second, with her lone off-the-board finish coming in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day, May 3.
“We gave her that layoff just to give her a rest,” Von Hemel said. “She didn’t have any surgeries or anything like that. We brought her back in April and we probably rushed her a little bit to get her to the Humana Distaff.
“Her next race was the Winning Colors (Grade 3, Churchill Downs, May 26) and she broke really slow. She couldn’t overcome that, but she still managed to run second and got beat less than two lengths by Graeme Six.”
Eusebio “Eddie” Razo Jr. will ride Miss Macy Sue, who will break from the rail.
Joseph V. Shields Jr.’s Any Limit, who drew post 5 under jockey Cornelio Velasquez, is a real threat in the Honorable Miss. The 5-year-old comes into this race off a neck victory in Belmont Park’s Grade 2 First Flight Handicap.
Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens initially did not want to run Any Limit in the First Flight. He felt she wasn’t ready after suffering a bizarre injury; apparently and to Jerkens’ best knowledge, she stepped on a shoe and it sliced right through her bandages, cut her and caused a length recovery.
It was only because Shields insisted that she ran in the First Flight, and now, she will turn back a furlong off that race.
At 4, Graeme Six has turned into a solid racehorse who, in her eight of her last 10 starts, has finished either first or second. In the seven-furlong Humana Distaff, she was dueled into defeat, thanks to first quarter mile of 22 1/5 and a half of 44 1/5.
She rebounded in the Winning Colors, and trainer Tom Amoss has given her ample time between races to facilitate his plan for this daughter of Graeme Hall.
“We’re looking to run her in the big race in the fall (Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita, Friday, October 24),” said Amoss, who will arrive in Saratoga on Thursday, along with Graeme Six. “After she won the Winning Colors, we gave her a month or so of little or no training and a little bit of a turn out. We are going to keep her sprinting and this race was on our schedule. We want to make sure she belongs and we will plan the rest of the year from this.”
Amoss, who will again go with jockey Julien Leparoux in the Honorable Miss, is happy that she drew the outside post in the six-horse field.
“That’s a very good post for her, Amoss said. “She should be able to settle and see what’s going on inside of her.”
The field for Friday’s 17th running of the Honorable Miss Handicap:
PP. HORSE TRAINER JOCKEY WGT.
1. Miss Macy Sue Kelly Von Hemel Eusebio Razo Jr. 118
2. Akronism Tim Ritchey Pablo Morales 115
3. Zada Belle Saeed bin Suroor John Velazquez 115
4. Rite Moment Gary Contessa Ramon Dominguez 118
5. Any Limit H. Allen Jerkens Cornelio Velasquez 118
6. Graeme Six Tom Amoss Julien Leparoux 118
Read more articles in the Saratoga category.