07/08/2008 11:00PM

Heiligbrodts named to Lone Star Park Hall of Fame


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Bill Heiligbrodt has an eye for young talent. Through the years he has campaigned a large number of 2-year-old stakes winners, and back in 1998 he made the decision to send horses to a then 32-year-old Steve Asmussen, who has since become one of the winningest trainers in North America.

"Bill Heiligbrodt has had a tremendous amount to do with the success that we've had on all levels," said Asmussen. "The first group of horses that we had that could win in Kentucky were his, to establish us there. I definitely think he's an owner that Texas should be very proud of. He stays very true to his roots. He just continuously supports Texas racing."

Heiligbrodt and his wife, Corinne, will be inducted into Lone Star Park's Hall of Fame on Saturday. Their class, which is the second at the track, also includes Clarence Scharbauer and his late wife, Dorothy, who raced Horse of the Year Alysheba, and Dixie Dot Com, the winner of the Texas Mile and Lone Star Park Handicap in 2001.

The honor at Lone Star is a special one, said Heiligbrodt.

"It means a lot to our family," he said. "We've always had a stable of Texas-bred horses since racing started in Texas. It's been a main focus. And we've tried to make every 2-year-old stakes at Lone Star that we can."

The Heiligbrodts have won 11 juvenile stakes at Lone Star between 1999 and 2007. Among the winners are Korbyn Gold, Miss Mary Pat, Louetta, Expect Will, and Valid Lilly. They also are strong in other regional markets, such as Louisiana and New Mexico, but have had success at every level of the game. Alone or in partnership, the Heiligbrodts have raced four Grade 1 winners - Lady Tak, Appealing Zophie, Cashier's Dream, and Golden Ballet.

They also have mares in Kentucky and Florida. And as of Tuesday night, Heiligbrodt Racing Stable was the sixth leading owner in wins (64) and earnings ($2,049,033) so far this year in North America. Heiligbrodt, who serves on the American Graded Stakes Committee and is a trustee of the Breeders' Cup, said the family keeps about 60 horses in training. At times, as many as 50 are juveniles. Last year alone, the Heiligbrodts won 54 races for 2-year-olds with 34 different juveniles, 10 of which were stakes winners. Heiligbrodt Racing is Asmussen's largest client.

"He's worked with me very closely to help me manage our overall program," said Heiligbrodt. "Being with him, you're able to run at multiple jurisdictions. That ties to the plan of trying to place your horse where they have the best opportunity to win."

The Heiligbrodts have had 68 stakes winners with Asmussen. Lady Tak was the first millionaire for Asmussen, while the trainer's first Grade 1 win at Saratoga came courtesy of Cashier's Dream.

"The first horses I ever had for them were Thirty Six Dreams and Promise of War, who I took to Chicago," said Asmussen. "We went to Hawthorne from here. Promise of War, he was just a fabulous old horse. The next horse I got from them was Saltworks, a hard-knocking horse that won first-time out opening day of the Churchill Downs fall meet."

In recent years, the Heiligbrodts have expanded their investment in the regional markets. In addition to having mares in Texas, they have breeding operations in New Mexico and Louisiana. Heiligbrodt said he is focusing on proving his family's own stallions, with Swamp and Datrick now in Texas, Abajo in New Mexico, and Lunarpal, Count the Time, and Spritely Walker standing in Louisiana.

"The programs are so valuable," he said of statebred incentives in the Southwest.

On Saturday, the Heiligbrodts will have four starters on the Stars of Texas Day program at Lone Star. The card offers six restricted stakes, and the Heiligbrodts could start the favorite in each of the 2-year-old races, the $125,000 divisions of the Texas Stallion Stakes, with colts Belton and Justwill, and the filly Tiffany Royal, whom the Heiligbrodts race with co-owner Keith Asmussen. Valid Lilly will run in the $50,000 Valor Farm.

* For Glory invades from Kentucky for the featured ninth Friday night, a second-level allowance at 7 1/2 furlongs on turf. In his last start, he was fourth in an off-the-turf allowance at Churchill on June 20. Jockey Luis Quinonez has the mount for Asmussen.