11/20/2011 2:05PM

Delta Princess champion Now I Know will vacation until Oaklawn reopens

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The unbeaten filly Now I Know could target the Dixie Belle at Oaklawn Park for her first race in 2012.

Now I Know, who remained undefeated in five starts with her four-length win in the Grade 3, $500,000 Delta Downs Princess on Saturday, will likely be freshened and return to action at Oaklawn Park, said trainer Don Von Hemel.

“We’ll probably give her a little time off,” he said. “She’s had five races and that’s enough for a 2-year-old. I suppose we won’t see her again before Hot Springs. She could come back in the Dixie Belle.”

Now I Know was making her two-turn debut in the Princess, and she ran her competition off their feet. She set a strong pace and drew clear on the one-mile race.  Von Hemel said in time he will be looking at more two-turn races for Now I Know, an imposing filly who stands about 16 hands tall.

“She’s by Pure Prize out of a Maria’s Mon mare, so there’s no reason for her not to go a mile and a sixteenth,” Von Hemel said. “I think that’s within her realm.”

Von Hemel co-bred and co-owns Now I Know with Wayne Stockseth. The men were partners in her dam, Now U Know, who did not race after being injured as a 2-year-old. Von Hemel has a small breeding operation, keeping no more than a couple of mares at any one time.

“She’s the best one I ever bred,” he said.

Von Hemel, 77, is the father of trainer Donnie Von Hemel, who won the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile with Caleb’s Posse, and Kelly Von Hemel, a high-percentage trainer in the Midwest.

“It’s been a fantastic year,” said Don Von Hemel. “Donnie had a big year. Kelly had a big year at Prairie Meadows. I’ve had my best year for the last few years. It’s very exciting.”

* Delta handled a record $4,434,089 on its 11-race Jackpot card Saturday, shattering the mark of $3.8 million set on the corresponding card in 2010. The program featured eight stakes worth $2.1 million. Steve Kuypers, the vice president and general manager of Delta, said the track began promoting the Jackpot three months in advance this year and he felt that was one of the factors that contributed to the record handle. Delta, a 38-year-old facility that has a six-furlong track, is located in southwestern Louisiana. The current meet runs to March 17.