03/24/2012 7:31PM

Oaklawn Park: City Sage comes in from New Mexico to win Hot Springs

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Coady photography/Oaklawn Park
City Sage completes a stakes trifecta at the Oaklawn meet for the Von Hemel family.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - City Sage invaded Oaklawn Park from New Mexico and proved a sharp, front-running winner of the $75,000 Hot Springs Stakes before a Saturday crowd of 18,385. He won by a neck over Our Dark Knight, while it was another four lengths back in third to Chief of Affairs.

The Hot Springs was the local prep for the Grade 3, $250,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap, and a decision on whether City Sage advances to that race will be made at a later time, said winning trainer Kelly Von Hemel.

City Sage ($10.40) won a Sunland Park allowance in February. He broke sharply in the Hot Springs and dueled three wide through fractions of 21.65 for the opening quarter and 44.79 for the half-mile. He had more in the stretch, and powered home while covering six furlongs on a track rated fast in 1:10.36.

“He ran a big race,” said Von Hemel.

City Sage was making his first start for Von Hemel, who said the horse arrived about a week ago from trainer Jon Arnett’s division in New Mexico. City Sage races for William Sims.

“Jon deserves credit for getting him ready,” said Von Hemel.

With the win in the Hot Springs, Von Hemel and his father, Don Von Hemel, and his brother, Donnie Von Hemel, have all won at least one stakes at the current meet. It’s not the first time the trio has accomplished the feat, having done so in 2008. The men have also all won races on the same card at Oaklawn.

Calvin Borel rode City Sage, who has now won 8 of 16 starts and $218,312. 

Agastache broke down on the turn in the Hot Springs and was euthanized, stewards confirmed. The 7-year-old by Mutakddim won 11 of 48 starts and $421,351