CHROME BABY WINS SECOND IN ROW FOR OKLAHOMA HORSE RACING HALL OF FAME TRAINER DONNIE VON HEMEL IN FEATURED ALLOWANCE
Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Fame trainer Donnie Von Hemel has Chrome Baby in peak form, winning his second in a row in Tuesday’s featured allowance race.
This 4-year-old colt by 2014 Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit), out of the Super Saver mare Star Super, made his first start of the Remington Park meet on the grass in optional $50,000 claiming company and ran a disappointing fifth, but he was coming off about a seven-week layoff. Von Hemel then moved him back to the dirt at 1-mile-70-yards in an allowance race and he came close to making this a three-race win streak. Chrome Baby ran second, beaten only a half-length by Holden the Lute on Sept. 7. He rolled off a win in his next start at seven furlongs on the main track back with optional $50,000 claimers, hanging on by a neck over U. S. Army. Tuesday night’s victory against open allowance horses, some of whom were stakes winners, was his second consecutive trip to the winner’s circle.
Jockey Richard Eramia was aboard for those two victories and the second-place run. Eramia’s two wins on Tuesday put him into a tie for fourth place in the jockeys’ standings with Floyd Wethey, Jr. They both have 33 wins. Harry Hernandez, who has won six races in the last two days of racing, moved into third place all by himself with 34 victories. Stewart Elliott, who was shut out Tuesday, remained well ahead in the race as the top rider with 66 wins. Lindey Wade has 35 victories in second.
Von Hemel has cut back on his entries in the past couple of years, but remains tough to beat, winning seven times in 30 starts this meet. That’s a 23 percent winning ratio.
Chrome Baby finished two lengths ahead of runner-up Dust Em (5-1), who was another neck ahead of Number One Dude (9-5), a multiple stakes winner. Number One Dude is a five-time stakes winner at Remington Park. He has won the Oklahoma Classics Juvenile and Don McNeill Stakes as a 2-year-old in 2020, the Oklahoma Stallion Stakes and Jim Thorpe Stakes in 2021, and the Red Earth Stakes in 2022.
Dust Em also is a multiple stakes winner, winning his first in the Wayne Hanks Memorial Stakes at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, on June 3, and then followed that up with a victory in the Gillespie County Fair Association Texas Breeders’ Stakes in Gillespie, Texas, on Aug. 26.
So, this was a tough field of allowance horses that Chrome Baby easily defeated. He earned $23,898 from the $40,000 purse for owner Levings Racing (Brian Levings) of Edmond, Okla. The colt, who has only been entered in stakes races twice, improved to 18 starts, six wins, four seconds, and two thirds for a bankroll of $167,807. In his stakes efforts, he ran sixth in the Clever Trevor Stakes at Remington Park on Oct. 29, 2021, and 11th in the John Henry Stakes at Evangeline Downs in Louisiana on the turf on July 1 this year.
Chrome Baby was sent off as the 3-2 favorite on Wednesday and paid $5 to win, $2.80 to place and $2.10 to show. He covered the mile distance in 1:37.82 over the fast track. That was the second-fastest mile of the meet, beaten only by another horse that won in another allowance mile Wednesday. Alejandro, trained by Steve Asmussen, won his race in 1:37.77, the fastest mile of the meet. Coincidentally, Asmussen and Von Hemel have the most wins in history at Remington Park, in that order.
Eramia sat fifth down the backstretch, waiting to pounce on the front-runners. Dust Em set the early fractions, going :23.98 for the first quarter-mile, :46.99 for the half and 1:11.65 for three-quarters. Chrome Baby moved a head in front at the top of the stretch and rolled away to victory. The seven furlongs time was 1:24.55. The winner was bred in Kentucky by Taylor Brother Properties, George Saufley, et al.
Remington Park racing resumes Friday and Saturday, Nov. 17 & 18 with the first race nightly at 7:07p.m.-Central.
Remington Park has provided more than $337 Million to the State of Oklahoma general education fund since the opening of the casino in 2005. Located at the junction of Interstates 35 & 44, in the heart of the Oklahoma City Adventure District, Remington Park is home to the Springboard Mile, a Kentucky Derby points-qualifying race, on Friday, Dec. 15, 2023. Remington Park presents simulcast racing daily and non-stop casino gaming. Parking and admission are always free. Must be 18 or older to wager on horse racing or enter the casino gaming floor. Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.