12/16/2008 1:00AM

Brownie Points ends her ontrack career


Brownie Points, a 5-year-old mare who has been a force in the stakes ranks in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas since 2005, has been retired, trainer Donnie Von Hemel said. He said she is scheduled to be bred to Grade 1 winner Street Cry.

Brownie Points racked up nine wins and $951,230 in earnings for her owner and breeder, Pin Oak Stable. Among her chief wins were the Grade 3, $200,000 Ouija Board Distaff Handicap at Lone Star Park this past May and the $150,000 DeBartolo Memorial Breeders' Cup over male rivals at Remington Park in September.

"She won stakes at 2, 3, 4, and 5, and she won stakes on the dirt and on the turf," Von Hemel said. "She was just a great mare, one of the best we've had a chance to train. We'll miss her a lot."

Von Hemel was the trainer of retired millionaires Bien Nicole, Clever Trevor, and Mr Ross, and has a formidable older horse in his barn right now in Grade 2 winner Going Ballistic. He was hard-pressed to pick a favorite race from Brownie Points.

"Some of her best races might not have been her winning races," he said. "She ran second in the Apple Blossom to Zenyatta, beating last year's champion mare, Ginger Punch.

"Winning the race at Lone Star this year, the graded stakes, I think that was big for her, and beating the boys at Remington was fun, too."

Brownie Points last raced Nov. 27 and finished fifth in the Grade 2 Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs. She is a daughter of Forest Wildcat.

Going Ballistic, who has been off since May, is about a month away from a race, Von Hemel said. He said the horse, who won last year's Super Derby and Oklahoma Derby, could make his return at either Oaklawn or Fair Grounds. Going Ballistic is now based at Oaklawn.

Valid Stripes heads to Fair Grounds

Valid Stripes, a 2-year-old who earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 100 for his win in the $50,000 Groovy Stakes at Retama Park on Dec. 6, will make his next start at Fair Grounds, trainer Amos Laborde said. He said the horse will run in the $60,000 Sugar Bowl, a six-furlong race Saturday.

Valid Stripes was an 11-length winner of the Groovy and earned one of the best Beyers given to a 2-year-old in 2008.

"I hope he can keep his reputation," said Laborde, who trains Valid Stripes for Donald Erickson. "We'll find out Saturday at the Fair Grounds. They're going to give us a little test there."

Valid Stripes will be returning to open company for the Sugar Bowl. He defeated Texas-breds in the Groovy, including the well-regarded stakes winner He's Boy Wonder.

"It looked like he just exploded when the jockey asked him to run," Laborde said.

Valid Stripes is by Valid Expectations. Following the Sugar Bowl, Laborde said, the horse will be considered for the $50,000 Triple Sec at seven furlongs at his home track of Delta Downs on Jan. 16.

"I think he'll go up to a mile," Laborde said. "The race at Fair Grounds will give us more of an idea of what we're going to do with him. We'll see how everything goes."

Valid Stripes has one other win from four starts, an off-the-pace maiden score at Retama in September.

Acting Zippy in Woodchopper

Acting Zippy, who defeated older horses when he surged for a neck win in the $100,000 Delta Mile at Delta in his last start, Dec. 5, will return to racing with straight 3-year-olds for the $60,000 Woodchopper at Fair Grounds on Saturday. He will be moving to turf, a surface over which he is placed from one start.

Acting Zippy, who is quick, showed a new dimension in the Delta Mile when he closed from next-to-last under Shane Laviolette.

"There was a lot of speed in there, and I told Shane to ride him the way he wanted to," trainer Don Bennett said.

Laviolette has the mount in the Woodchopper. Earlier this year, Acting Zippy just missed setting a track record at Remington when he won a mile-and-70-yard optional claimer in 1:40.40.

Costa Rising appears on work tab

Costa Rising, who has not raced since December 2007, when he rolled home by 15 lengths in the Louisiana Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds, is back on the work tab. He went three furlongs in 37.40 seconds at his Evangeline Downs Training Center base Saturday. The work followed a quarter-mile drill on Dec. 3.

Costa Rising underwent arthroscopic surgery last winter to have a small bone chip removed from his left hind ankle. He could return to action in February or March, according to trainer Glenn Delahoussaye. Costa Rising's notable wins include an Evangeline allowance in September 2007 for which he earned a 118 Beyer.