09/20/2006 12:00AM

Bohannan eyes Oaklawn


Trainer Tom Bohannan plans to return to Oaklawn Park for the first time in nearly a decade when the 2007 meet opens in January. Bohannan said he is requesting stall space for about 10 horses, all of whom are owned by Arkansas businessman John Ed Anthony.

Bohannan and Anthony were a formidable team nationally in the early 1990's, winning the Preakness in 1992 with Arkansas Derby winner Pine Bluff, and again in 1993, with Prairie Bayou.

Bohannan left racing in 1998, but returned to action at Churchill Downs this May, winning with his first starter, Sea of Trees. He is happy to be back in the game, and to be returning to Oaklawn with a stable for Anthony.

"Whenever you get a horse from him, it's either bought or bred to be a nice horse with classic potential, and it's hard not to get excited about a prospect like that," said Bohannan.

Sea of Trees was third last out in the Grade 3 Kent Breeders' Cup, and is a candidate for the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby.

* Oaklawn is constructing a 40-stall barn in place of three cottage barns that were located across from the Sunny's Halo barn, along the main road on the backstretch. The barn will be named after Smarty Jones, the 2004 Kentucky Derby winner who swept the 3-year-old series at Oaklawn. The barn is to be completed in November.


Michael Rowland, the all-time leading rider at Thistledown, was to be inducted into the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday.

Rowland died in February 2004 from injuries incurred during a spill at Turfway Park in Kentucky. Rowland came to Thistledown in 1984 and won a record 29 meet titles and was the leading rider at the track seven times.He recorded 3,999 wins during his 24-year riding career.

"Mike was a good friend, an excellent rider, and a great ambassador to our sport," said Brent Reitz, assistant general manager at Thistledown. "It's an honor for us to be able to share his accomplishments and carry on his memory with the rest of greater Clevelanders."

* Thistledown's qualifying tournament for the National Handicapping Championship, held in conjunction with Daily Racing Form and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, will be held at the track on Saturday, Nov. 11. The tournament is limited to 150 contestants who register and pay the $100 fee by Nov. 6. The top three finishers advance to the DRF/NTRA national final tournament at Bally's Las Vegas on Jan. 26-27. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top 40 finishers.

- Chuck Scaravill