10/12/2004 11:00PM

Engel's 22-horse stable has 21 victories


Trainer Roger Engel is having a terrific Remington Park meet and has won about as many races as he has horses in training at the track. His stable of 22 horses has accounted for 21 wins, a total that can grow Friday night when Engel's best-known horse, Medium Rare, starts in the sixth race at Remington.

A seven-furlong optional claimer, the race is restricted to horses bred in Oklahoma.

Medium Rare, who is 8, has been considered one of the state's best sprinters for years, and last month he was shooting for his fourth straight win in the annual Oklahoma Classics Day Sprint. He finished a good second to odds-on favorite Cheyenne Breeze, and the 93 Beyer Figure he earned is at least 20 points higher than each of his rivals' numbers Friday.

Engel's stable this meet is largely made up of young horses and claiming horses, a mix that has worked well for him at Remington.

"We've had horses that have won two or three at the meet," he said. "It was a big plus that we walked in with a lot of conditions. Maidens, non-twos, non-threes. They've got conditions, and they're running them out."

Engel, who credited his owners for allowing him to place horses in proper spots, has won with 40 percent of his starters this meet. He led the standings by five wins over 11-time title winner Donnie Von Hemel going into Thursday.

But Engel, 40, knows it will be a tall task to win the title over Von Hemel, who also has divisions at Louisiana Downs and Lone Star Park.

"We feel fairly strong, [but] some horses need some breaks, and I don't know if we've got enough to hold off Von Hemel," he said. "He stabs at you. We're just going to run, have fun, and not worry about it."