09/03/2006 11:00PM

Louisiana next for Going Ballistic

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SELMA, Texas - Going Ballistic ran a career race Saturday night in the $100,000 El Joven at Retama Park, and later this month will attempt to keep his perfect turf record intact when he heads to Louisiana.

Going Ballistic is being pointed for the $100,000 Juvenile at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 23, his trainer, Donnie Von Hemel, said Monday.

Going Ballistic will be looking for his third straight turf win in the race, following a maiden score in his turf debut at Lone Star Park in July, and the El Joven, a one-mile race in which he closed from last to earn a Beyer Speed Figure of 82.

Before the race, Von Hemel said he felt Going Ballistic was a horse with a future, and owners Mary and Michael Kindred made the decision to put up $10,000 to supplement to the El Joven. Von Hemel liked Going Ballistic's chances even more Saturday night as he watched the races play out, especially Stage Stop's win in the $100,000 La Senorita.

"After the filly that won the La Senorita came from way back, it made me feel like maybe we were going to have a chance to do that," said Von Hemel.

Going Ballistic covered the mile in a sharp 1:36.29.

Stage Stop wins maiden in stakes

Stage Stop won her maiden in the La Senorita, her first start on turf. Her trainer, Cheryl Asmussen, said the decision to try the grass with the filly was made by her husband, Cash Asmussen, who co-owns Stage Stop.

"Cash has been breezing her, and he just had a lot of confidence in her and he thought she would go nicely on the turf," she said. "Since he's a turf expert, we just followed his lead."

Cash Asmussen was a champion jockey in France.

Cheryl Asmussen registered her first stakes win in the La Senorita. She began training about a year ago at the Retama meet, with her first win coming here Sept. 1, 2005. She began training for a couple of reasons, in a decision made with Cash.

"We have a few horses of our own to run, and then we also have a few people that are dear friends of ours that would like to run with us, so we just decided to branch out a little bit," she said. "We have a breaking and training center in Laredo, and that's our main deal, and Cash and I split our time between there and here. So, we just decided to try it."

Cheryl Asmussen said next-race plans are being determined for Stage Stop, who is also stakes-placed on dirt. The filly is co-owned by Bullard Farms.

Big night for Retama

The stakes double Saturday night helped lift Retama to its highest handle of the meet. From all sources, $848,261 was bet on the nine-race card. Attendance was 8,132, which was the second largest crowd of the meet, which runs through Nov. 4.

Retama helped lure fans with its 50-cent night promotion, which included free admission and reduced prices on some concessions. First run in 1998, the promotion has helped raise awareness of the track in the local market, said Bryan Brown, chief executive officer of Retama.

"It's gotten us a lot more on the map, and a lot more people think of Retama as an entertainment option because of 50-cent nights," he said. "You can come out and with [reduced] hot dog and drink prices feed your family and have money left over to wager with."

The ontrack crowd bet $200,872 on Saturday's live card, a meet-best live ontrack handle number for Retama.

* Retama has shifted to a Wednesday through Saturday night racing schedule and ran its final Sunday program of the meet Sept. 3. "That's to get away from competing with NFL football Sunday," said Brown. The race week had opened on Thursdays.

* Our Leading Lady is a top contender in Wednesday's featured seventh race, a first-level allowance on turf for fillies and mares.