08/14/2002 12:00AM

Cowboy Stuff headed to Oklahoma Derby


Trainer Donnie Von Hemel was working on arrangements Wednesday morning to ship $100,000 Round Table winner Cowboy Stuff to Remington Park for the Grade 3, $250,000 Oklahoma Derby on Aug. 25.

The colt, who had also been under consideration for the $65,000 Iowa Breeders' Derby at Prairie Meadows on Aug. 31, is based at Arlington Park near Chicago.

Von Hemel will oversee Cowboy Stuff in Oklahoma for his father, Don Von Hemel, who bred, co-owns, and trains the colt. In his last start, Cowboy Stuff was a powerful, wire-to-wire winner of the Round Table, running the fastest 1 1/8 miles of the meet at Arlington Park.

He will travel the same distance in the Oklahoma Derby.

Cowboy Stuff, who has won 5 of 7 starts this year, including three stakes, is a family project for the Von Hemels.

Donnie Von Hemel trained his sire, Grade 2 winner Evansville Slew, while his brother, Kelly Von Hemel, trained Cowboy Stuff's dam, Deanne's Lady. Cowboy Stuff, himself, is half-brother to Von Hemel-trained stakes winners Boy Stuff, an earner of $238,469, as well as Unbridled Emotion, an earner of $194,275.

Cowboy Stuff is also nominated to the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 21.

Retama turf winners to Louisiana

Bien Nicole and Chauffe Au Rouge, who each won a Retama Park turf stakes in their last start, are both pointing for races at Louisiana Downs.

Bien Nicole, who showed a new dimension winning the $50,000 Margarita Breeders' Cup at Retama on Aug. 3 when she closed from off the pace, is on deck for the $150,000 River Cities Breeders' Cup at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 7.

"I thought she ran a very good race last time," said Donnie Von Hemel, who trains Bien Nicole. "We got her to settle a little bit better than she had, and I think that makes her a better horse."

Chauffe Au Rouge, who rolled to an impressive 2 1/4-length win in the $50,000 Retama Turf Cup last Saturday night, is to make his next start in the $50,000 Barksdale Handicap at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 2, said trainer Cole Norman.

The long-term goal for the horse is the $100,000 Louisiana Downs Handicap on Sept. 22.

Dusty Spike to Oklahoma Derby

Dusty Spike, who won the first race of the Remington Park meet last Saturday when he proved two lengths best in an allowance for 3-year-olds, is to make his next start in the Oklahoma Derby, said trainer Mark Lee.

"He ran a real good race," said Lee. "He laid off of it, and closed like he always does.

"He came back well. The race didn't seem to take much out of him at all."

Earlier this year, Dusty Spike finished a troubled second to eventual Grade 2 Arkansas Derby winner Private Emblem in a division of the $75,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn, and also ran third in that track's Grade 3, $100,000 Rebel.

* Taylor's Queen, a former front-runner who used off-the-pace tactics to win the $40,000 Dixie Miss Stakes last Saturday at Louisiana Downs, will take on older rivals next out in the track's $50,000 Monique Rene Handicap on Aug. 24. "I think the key to her is to get her her back off the pace," said Cole Norman, who trains Taylor's Queen. "She finishes better."

* Nanie's Dinner is a little behind schedule in her training and will not defend her title in the $50,000 Sangue Handicap at Louisiana Downs on Saturday, said trainer Larry Robideaux, Jr. Instead, she will be pointed for the $150,000 River Cities.

* Taylor's Day takes on a solid group of nine sprinters in the eighth race Friday at Louisiana Downs, a 6 1/2-furlong optional claimer worth $28,000 that also drew stakes winner Triple Card.