03/01/2013 4:21PM

Oaklawn: Cheery takes aim at Carousel

Coady Photography
Cheery is expected to make her next start in the $100,000 Carousel on April 11.

Cheery, who established herself as one of the top filly and mare sprinters at the Oaklawn meet with her win in the $60,000 American Beauty in January, is being pointed for the track’s $100,000 Carousel, said trainer Al Stall Jr. The six-furlong race is the richest offering for the local division, and it will be run on April 11.

Cheery won the American Beauty by 1 1/4 lengths over All About Allie, who returned in her next start to capture the $60,000 Downthedustyroad at Oaklawn. Cheery, meanwhile, was entered in the $60,000 Spring Fever on Feb. 17, but was scratched because of the rail post she drew, said Stall.

Stall said his concern was that the “speed would come over and swamp her” as she would have been shortening up in distance from six furlongs to 5 1/2 furlongs. Cheery is a 4-year-old daughter of Distorted Humor who races for her breeders, Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider.

Kentucky Derby box on offer

A six-seat box at Churchill Downs for this year’s Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby will lead the live auction items to be sold during the Arkansas Race Track Chaplaincy’s annual banquet March 22. The event will be held at the Hot Springs, Ark., convention center for the first time after outgrowing the traditional site of the Hot Springs Country Club, said event organizer Robi Heffington.

For the last several years, the banquet, during which the chaplaincy’s person of the year is revealed, has drawn about 350 people, she said. Heffington is overseeing the event this year because Jerry Hissam, longtime president of the organization, is scheduled to have surgery this coming week at a hospital in Dallas.

“I’ve been doing his job and had no idea how big it was,” Heffington said of organizing the banquet.

Heffington is married to Oaklawn-based chaplain Rich Heffington, who earlier this week returned to work full time after undergoing triple bypass surgery at a Hot Springs hospital in January. Robbi Heffington said other live auction items will include a set of Kentucky Derby lapel pins; a jersey signed by Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco; and a one-week stay in a condo located near Gulfstream Park.

Tickets to the banquet are $60 and are available at the chaplain’s offices at Oaklawn, the horsemen’s relations offices at Oaklawn or the Hot Springs offices of the Arkansas Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Horsemen’s Association. Also at the banquet will be the annual Garth Patterson Award. A golf tournament benefiting the local chaplaincy will be held March 25.

Longtime owner, breeder Eberts dead at 73

Don Eberts, an owner and breeder for more than 25 years, died earlier this week at his home in Latexo, Texas. Eberts suffered a heart attack. He was 73.

Eberts regularly raced in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Arkansas. The list of stakes winners he bred and raced includes Groovy Jett, Northern Scene, Dixie Tactics, Pretty Squall, and Countryfide.

“He wasn’t just a client, he was a dear friend,” said Morris Nicks, who trained for Eberts for 25 years. “He was a good, good guy.”

Nicks said Eberts, a longtime businessman, had a farm in Texas. Eberts is survived by his children Karen, Chris, and Jeff.

◗ Jockeys Calvin Borel, Jon Court, Rosemary Homeister Jr., Jenna Joubert, Luis Quinonez and Terry Thompson will make a Monday night appearance during the 39th annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism, which is being held in Hot Springs, Ark.

◗ Heaven’s Runway, the third-place finisher in the Southwest last month at Oaklawn, is possible for the track’s Grade 2, $600,000 Rebel on March 16, said his co-owner, K.K. Jayaraman.

◗ Oaklawn will close the track for training Monday for maintenance after a wetter than usual season, said track spokesperson Jennifer Hoyt.