Oaklawn News

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Von Hemel Reaches Career Milestone at Remington

Trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel, an Oaklawn regular, recorded his 1,000th career victory at Remington Park, according to the track, when Sweet Posse broke her maiden in Thursday night’s fourth race for 2-year-old fillies.

Sweet Posse is from the first crop of the Von Hemel-trained Caleb’s Posse, runner-up for an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion 3-year-old male in 2011 after winning the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), $250,000 King’s Bishop Stakes (G1) and Oaklawn’s $100,000 Smarty Jones Stakes.

Von Hemel, 55, is the all-time leading trainer at Remington Park and saddled the first of his 2,105 career winners to date in 1984, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization.

Von Hemel has 285 career victories at Oaklawn, including 12 at this year’s meet when he had a personal season-best $1,169,230 in purse earnings. Suddenbreakingnews provided Von Hemel with his most lucrative career victory to date in Hot Springs in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds Feb. 15.

In addition to Caleb’s Posse, Von Hemel’s most accomplished runners include Oaklawn stakes winners Alternation, Bien Nicole, See How She Runs and Mr Ross and Clever Trevor, runner-up in the 1989 Arkansas Derby.

Von Hemel is the son of trainer Don Von Hemel of Hot Springs, Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 1981.Don Von Hemel has 2,515 career victories, according to Equibase.

Holthus Nears Milestone

Trainer Paul Holthus of Hot Springs has 469 career victories, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization.

Holthus, who didn’t train for nearly 20 years after leaving the profession in 1995 to become the agent for jockey Garrett Gomez, has won 37 races in 2016, including five at Oaklawn.

Holthus has increased his overall victory total each year since he returned to training, winning 23 races in 2014 and 30 last year. He has $763,252 in purse earnings this year, just off his career-high $796,032 set in 2015.


The trainer, who saddled his first winner in 1980, is now based at Indiana Grand, where he is co-sixth-leading trainer with 29 victories.

He is the son of the late Bob Holthus, Oaklawn’s all-time leading trainer, and the husband of Nancy Holthus, a member of Oaklawn’s media relations department.

Finish Lines

Whitmore, unraced since the May 7 Kentucky Derby, worked a bullet half-mile (:47.20) over a fast track Saturday morning at Churchill Downs for co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs. It was the fastest of 52 times recorded at the distance and the third work back for Whitmore, among the leading 3-year-olds at the 2016 Oaklawn meeting after finishing second in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3), second in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) and third in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1). … Rockshaw, a 2-year-old Maclean’s Music colt, broke his maiden Saturday at Keeneland for Moquett and new clients Alex and JoAnn Lieblong of Conway, Ark. Rockshaw, who was ridden by four-time Oaklawn jockey champion Ricardo Santana Jr., ran 6 furlongs over a fast track in 1:11.35 and paid $16. Rockshaw, a $210,000 purchase earlier this year, was coming off a fourth-place finish in his Aug. 20 career debut at Saratoga. The winner, Blame Will, has competed in graded stakes events in two subsequent starts for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas and owner Willis Horton of Marshall, Ark., who have campaigned champions and recent Oaklawn stakes winners Will Take Charge and Take Charge Brandi. Alex Lieblong is chairman of the Arkansas Racing Commission. ... Israel Ocampo, who rode seven winners at the 2016 Oaklawn meeting, has 996 career victories, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Ocampo is named on three horses Wednesday night at Remington Park.