07/10/2001 11:00PM

DRF's around the ovals (7/13/01)


Daydream believer believes in horse racing

Davy Jones made a name for himself in the 1960's as lead singer of the made-for-TV pop group The Monkees. These days, Jones is hoping to score a hit with another animal species.

Taking a break from a 60-show tour of the United States with The Monkees, Jones visited Colonial Downs last Sunday to take a look at an unraced 2-year-old horse he owns on the grounds. Indian Town Jones, a colt in training with Michael Traurig, was purchased by Jones with the intention of developing him into a steeplechase runner.

"He's bred for the turf," said Traurig, an assistant to Jonathan Sheppard, an expert at training horses over both hurdles and the flat. "We'll try him on the flat first. If he likes it and performs well, we'll leave him there, for a while anyway."

It turns out Jones has as much passion for horses as he does music. "I spend six months of the year on horseback, riding two or three horses a day," Jones said. "I went into a stable yard in Newmarket when I was 14 years old and started working with horses."

Jones has competed in amateur rider races, both on the flat and over hurdles. His riding experience is part of the reason he likes Traurig's training style.

"He's a hands-on trainer and I'm a hands-on owner," Jones said. "He rides his horses, he doesn't just tell someone else what to do with them."

Jones enjoys visiting his horse whenever his touring schedule permits him to arrange a day trip. He came to Colonial Downs a day after The Monkees performed in Ports-mouth, Va.

- Joe DeVivo


It was a big week for the Kisson Thoroughbred operation and its partners, who won two Minnesota-bred stakes events. On July 4, Ashar made a six-wide move on the far turn to capture the Blair's Cove Stakes, edging favored Bleu Victoriate. Like the race's namesake, Ashar is a son of Bucksplasher. The Ted Latour trainee was ridden to victory by Derek Bell. On Sunday, Balin overcame traffic problems to prevail over Now Playing in the Victor S. Myers Jr. Stakes for 3-year-old state-bred colts. Juan Rivera was the winning rider.

* Trainer Doug Oliver and assistant Sean Kennedy saddled the entry of Shesa Shesa and Playful Edition for the Princess Elaine Stakes. The favored pair came to the wire together with Playful Edition getting the edge from her entrymate late under rider Joanne Black. The winner is campaigned by her breeder, Jeff Hilger, in partnership with Bill Sonntag.

* Jockey Paul Nolan came back from a riding suspension last week with a vengeance, winning four races on Friday night. Nolan is considered something of a turf specialist as he has been a part of several of the most storied upsets witnessed on the Canterbury turf course. Nolan showed a new dimension this past week when he piloted Quarter Horse Iscreamfordash to victory in MCI Worldcom Central Challenge Stakes on the Fourth of July. The Kenny Huffman-trained charge now qualifies for the finals of that event, which will be held at Los Alamitos.

- David M. Miller


COLLINSVILLE, Ill. - Jockey J.D. Hundley on drums and clerk of scales Charlie Mullins on bass and vocals make up the rhythm section of a new band named Dead Heat. Filled out by Terry Sanders and Bert Bucksat on guitars, the group has a repertoire that includes blues to rock and country. Dead Heat has a regular Sunday night gig at local racetracker's hangout Ardie and Tiny's.

* Chalk players were smiling when jockey Mike Gale swept the final four races on Monday afternoon's card. Starting in the sixth Gale won with Miss Memories ($3.80), Lake Yukon ($3), Noka ($8.60), and Little Mo ($4.60).

* Princess Donna, who won her local and seasonal debut in Friday's sixth race, now appears ready to take on the leaders in her division. A lightly raced 4-year-old who has now won six of seven career starts, Princess Donna was claimed for $12,500 at Hawthorne last December, won an allowance near the end of the year and was then given a rest by trainer Ralph Martinez.

- Rod Peck

Great Lake Downs

MUSKEGON, Mich. - Leading trainer Gerry Bennett had a memorable weekend at Great Lakes Downs, winning the $50,000 Ann Arbor with Empress Livia and the $50,000 Dowling Stakes with Secret Romeo, the hottest Michigan-bred runner on the grounds.

* Secret Romeo, owned by A.A. Catenacci, lived up to his star billing in Saturday's Dowling, but it wasn't easy for the 1-5 favorite. Secret Romeo, a 3-year-old who is unbeaten at the meeting, looked like he would shake loose from stablemate Timely Factor in the stretch, but Timely Factor came back and leading jockey Terry Houghton had to go to work to preserve a neck victory for Secret Romeo. The Bennett-trained pair, worth a $16.80 exacta, finished 4 1/2 lengths in front of Blackstone Dreamer in the one-mile race.

* Luis Martinez Jr., the rider of Timely Factor, booted home Empress Livia for Bennett in Friday evening's Ann Arbor. Empress Livia, new to the stakes wars, went off as the second choice behind I Match Too, who was looking for her third straight stakes win. Empress Livia rallied four wide from last to win by 2 1/2 lengths.

- C.A. Shoemaker

Retama Park

Clarence Scharbauer, whose family raced Kentucky Derby winners Tomy Lee and Alysheba, is one of six people who will be inducted into the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame during a gala ceremony at Retama Park near San Antonio on Oct. 6.

Scharbauer, who owned five Quarter Horse champions, operates a breeding farm in Pilot Point, Texas, that is home to some of the state's top Thoroughbred stallions, including Hadif.

Others to be inducted into the Hall of Fame are Joe Straus Sr., a driving force behind the return of parimutuel wagering to Texas who bred and raced No Le Hace, runner-up in the 1972 Kentucky Derby and Preakness; Colonel W.T. Waggoner, whose Arlington Park near Dallas was one of the most successful racing plants of the 1930's; and Emerson Woodward, who owned 1941 Kentucky Oaks winner Valdina Orphan and Rounder, who once defeated Whirlaway.

Horses to be inducted are Groovy, the champion sprinter in 1987 who ranks as the all-time richest Texas-bred with $1.3 million in earnings; and Special Effort, a Quarter Horse sire who won the All American Futurity in 1981.

- Mary Rampellini